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Point of view: The Boss

A Monitor photographer's encounter with one of Rwanda's rare mountain gorillas.

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Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff/FILE

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We had hiked more than an hour to find them in their bamboo-covered mountains in war-torn Rwanda. I'd waited decades to see the mountain gorillas. Agashya, the chief silverback, had bluffed a charge when we approached, letting us know who was boss. Then he sat down and picked at his toes. I fiddled with my exposures, challenged by the dim dawn light as Agashya's family foraged. Only about 700 of these gentle creatures are left in the wild. They somehow survived the turmoil of the country's 1994 genocide. When it was time to go, I saw Agashya standing alone and took this last shot. He was magnificent.