The Gorilla Organization is marking 50 years since Dian Fossey began studying gorillas with a special appeal for our ranger mission
Dian Fossey set up her camp at Karisoke in Rwanda 50 years ago, and The Gorilla Organization is marking this great anniversary with the Dian Fossey Appeal to continue her mission: study and protect the last of the gorillas.
When Dian first arrived to work with the mountain gorillas back in 1967, people still thought of them as King Kong: fierce, threatening and alien. Thanks to Dian’s pioneering work, we know they are gentle, loving and vulnerable creatures, but fiercely protective of their families.
Dian was the first person to study gorillas in their natural habitat, and she ended up giving her life to protect them. We were set up to continue her work with ranger patrols in the forest and we pioneered community conservation projects which give local people a stake in the survival of their gorilla cousins.
Dian Fossey’s killer was never caught. The last entry in Dian’s diary reads: “When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate more on the preservation of the future.”
But 50 years on the gorillas are still under terrible threat, and in 2016 the eastern lowland Grauer’s gorillas were listed as Critically Endangered by international conservation body the IUCN.
Our rangers go out into the forest to pull up vicious snares left by poachers and rive off armed gangs who take baby gorillas for the international pet trade, killing their mothers in the process and destroying gorilla families. Hundreds of rangers have given their lives.
We have patrols out in the forest right now, protecting gorilla families over an area of more than 175,000 acres in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But we can only reach gorillas in around one third of the area at any one time. We need your help to do more.
Our rangers need
- rugged computers to record data in the field
- a four-wheel-drive so that they can respond rapidly in the difficult terrain of the DRC
- to rebuild a ranger outpost in the forest that was destroyed by rebel fighters last year
Even small donations will pay for farming equipment to support their families and train local people in sustainable farming techniques.