The endangered Grauer’s gorilla is now found only in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa and continues to be threatened by clear cutting of forests, disease transmission, and poaching.
Encroaching human activity leaves the animals’ habitat fragmented and their populations even more susceptible to poachers, who often kill the adults of a group and capture their offspring to be sold at a local market. Luckily, some of these infants are rescued and end up in the hands of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
Poaching on the rise
With a growing number of young orphaned gorillas coming under the care of the fund, it became clear that a dedicated facility was needed in order to protect these animals and be able to properly introduce them back into the wild.
To fulfill this need, the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center was constructed, and it welcomed its first four gorillas in April 2010. Sitting on 370 acres of land in the DRC, in a forested area near Tanya Nature Reserve, the center is the first permanent orphan gorilla center in eastern Africa and the first in the world for Grauer’s gorillas.
Finding the funds to keep a unique project like this going is difficult, which is why Humane Society International was happy to help. In May 2011, we provided a grant to help the center continue their incredible work. This new facility allows growing gorillas to roam freely in a large natural area, where they can develop social groups and reproduce just like they would in the wild.
Local people will be able to come to the center to learn about the orphaned gorillas and the importance of conservation through educational programs—an important step towards combating poaching. The eventual expansion of the education center also will provide even more jobs for the surrounding community.
To complete this facility and maintain long-term operations is a challenging endeavor, but the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is optimistic that the gorilla center will be a beacon of hope in the fight to save these gorillas. Help gorillas and other animals by donating today.