In 1987, only 248 mountain gorillas remained in the wild, in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Subject to decades of civil war in the regions they inhabited, as well as the spread of dangerous diseases, poaching and the devastating consequences of increased habitat loss, the dwindling population of the largest of the great apes seemed doomed to extinction. And although the number of gorillas living in the wild has now risen to more than 700 thanks to the efforts of such groups as the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund and the World Wildlife Federation, the situation is still tenuous. Disease remains rampant, and logging and land development continue at an alarming rate.
Clearly, there's only one thing to do: Dress up like a gorilla and Rollerblade through downtown.
Or you can jog, or walk, or bike, or pretty much whatever you like (short of hurling your own feces) during the Denver Gorilla Run 2004. The simian saunter begins today at 10:30 a.m. at Six Flag Elitch Gardens, 2000 Elitch Circle; for a $150 registration fee, participants will receive a full-body gorilla suit -- which they may don in whatever capacity they see fit (creativity is encouraged) -- then make their way through the heart of Denver on a five-mile run/walk. Organizers hope to raise $200,000 for the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund, so while sponsorship is not required, it is appreciated. An after-run party and prize giveaway will be held at the finish line, which is also at Elitch's. And, yes, you get to keep the hair suit. Need any more motivation?
To register and for more information, go to www.denvergorillarun.com or call 720-244-9938. -- Adam Cayton-Holland
Dig the 'Diggers
The School of Mines solves a grid puzzle
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They're brainy, for sure, but are School of Mines students brawny?
So far, the members of this year's Mines team have been superheroes, getting the squad off to its best start since 1939. Led by massive senior quarterback Chad Friehauf, the team won its first seven games. And the highlight of the 2004 Homecoming Weekend could actually be a football game, rather than the march of the flannel-shirt-and-hardhat-clad band along Golden's Washington Avenue three hours prior to kickoff. Even engineers wanna have fun.
When the CSM Orediggers challenge the New Mexico Highlands Cowboys today, there might be a larger crowd than usual, but the odds -- which the brainy and brawny Mines folks will be only too happy to calculate -- are good that you'll get in and have an exponentially enjoyable time. Tickets are a retro $6 for adults and $4 for students, and the action starts at 1:30 p.m. at friendly Brooks Field, 12th and Maple streets in Golden. For more, visit www.mines.edu. -- Ernie Tucker