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 also endangered. In fact, all gorilla habitats are threatened. Gorillas help maintain a very delicate balance in the rainforest and healthy rainforests 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 health professionals are on the ground every day in Rwanda and Congo protecting gorillas in every way that they are threatened -- from poaching, loss of habitat and disease. The Fossey Fund's Karisoke™ Research Center has been protecting and studying gorillas for more than 45 years, never leaving even during the most difficult times.
Where we impact gorilla conservation
Our gorilla conservation activities take place on many levels and places, with people from Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United States, and around the world. In Rwanda our Karisoke™ Research Center protects gorillas daily in Volcanoes National Park and cares for rescued gorillas. 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 collaboration with rangers at Virunga National Park on the eastern border with Rwanda and with a network of community-managed reserves in a 42,000 square mile landscape further west that links Maiko and Kahuzi-Biega National Parks and is the habitat of the endangered Grauer's gorillas.
Some of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International’s most important activities
Protecting gorillas and other endangered species every day in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, through the Karisoke™ Research Center, including tracking and anti-poaching patrols; support for rangers in the Congo’s Virunga National Park and Maiko National Park; working with community-based reserves that protect most of the range of the Grauer’s (eastern lowland) gorilla; and launching a pioneering monitoring program for Grauer's gorillas, based on the Karisoke model.
Conducting and promoting science and research by the Karisoke™ Research Center, often in collaboration with major universities in Africa, and in Congo by the community-based reserves; the Tayna Center for Conservation Biology; and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund's Grauer's new gorilla monitoring project. Karisoke’s daily collection of mountain gorilla demographic, behavioral and environmental data has produced one of the longest-running studies of any primate.
Rehabilitating gorillas rescued from poachers, preparing them to return to the wild.
Helping people who live near the gorillas to improve their health and quality of life and become stewards of their own natural environment, through a variety of health, education, and development projects in partnership with the communities and government agencies.