What We Do at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund
Founded by Dian Fossey in 1978, we are dedicated to the conservation and protection of gorillas and their habitats in Africa. We are committed to promoting continued research on the gorillas and their threatened ecosystems and to providing education about their relevance to the world in which we live. In collaboration with government agencies and other international partners, we also provide assistance to local communities through education, health, training and development initiatives.
The value of our work
Fewer than 900 mountain gorillas are left in the world and the Grauer’s (eastern lowland) gorilla population is believed to be in serious decline. In fact, all gorilla habitats are threatened. Gorillas help maintain a very delicate balance in the forest and healthy forests are a vitally important buffer against the ongoing global climate change that affects all of us.
Our staff of Rwandan and Congolese trackers, educators and scientists are on the ground every day in Rwanda and Congo protecting gorillas against threats from poaching, loss of habitat and disease. The Fossey Fund's Karisoke Research Center has been protecting and studying gorillas for more nearly 50 years, never leaving even during the most difficult times.
Our gorilla conservation activities take place on many levels and places, with people from local communities and around the world. In Rwanda our Karisoke Research Center protects gorillas daily in Volcanoes National Park. Since 2000, we have been expanding and diversifying the programs Dian Fossey originated to address pressing gorilla conservation challenges on a wider regional scale. Our Congo programs include tracking unhabituated groups of Grauer's gorillas and working with Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
Conducting and promoting science and research often in collaboration with major universities, is another important aspect of our work. Karisoke’s daily collection of mountain gorilla demographic, behavioral and environmental data has produced one of the longest-running studies of any primate.
Helping people who live near the gorillas to improve their health and quality of life is important to conservation success as well. We do this through a variety of health, education, and development projects in partnership with communities, other organizations and government agencies.