As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the organization’s Board of Trustees traveled to Rwanda in late February. The week provided an opportunity for the Fossey Fund staff and board to celebrate this significant milestone for the organization together with the officials, park authorities and other conservation organizations who are our partners in Rwanda.
Highlights of the week included forest treks to see gorillas and golden monkeys, presentations about our work by many of the Fossey Fund’s 150 Africa staff, a reception to recognize our conservation partners at the house of wildlife celebrity Jack Hanna, visits to our community education and health projects in Bisate village, and an afternoon with the Karisoke trackers to honor their work .
The week ended with two especially important and poignant events — a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where the board made donation to support educational outreach programs to promote peace; and a reception by the United States Ambassador to Rwanda to celebrate the Fossey Fund’s 50th anniversary.
U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda, Erica J. Barks-Ruggles, hosted the reception at her residence in Kigali for the Fossey Fund board, Rwandan and U.S. officials, business leaders, and other organizations working in Rwanda, all in celebration of the success of conservation in the country. Ms. Barks-Ruggles has been noted for her support of conservation and her love of the mountain gorillas, which she has now visited eight times – a record among U.S. ambassadors to Rwanda!
“I know I speak for all of the board members when I say how impressed I was to see the importance that the Rwandan government puts on conservation,” said board chair Dwight Scott. “The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is very proud to support the country’s efforts to conserve gorillas and all biodiversity, as well as to help the communities who live near the gorillas.”