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To Conduct Gorilla Research and Protection, You Need to Stay Warm

Outfitting our gorilla trackers since 2013

Weather conditions in the rainforests where we work can be punishing. Our trackers spend weeks at a time in the forest, hiking for hours no matter how cold or wet it gets. We’re out there every single day — 365 days a year — ensuring that all the gorillas in the families we monitor are healthy and safe.

Three trackers wearing new jackets that protect them when tracking gorillas.
Fossey Fund staff members show off their new Craghoppers jackets.

Last month outdoor outfitter Craghoppers donated jackets, fleeces, trousers, socks and other equipment to help our staff stay warm even on the coldest days in the mountains. In keeping with our joint commitment to sustainability, most of these products were made from recycled materials, including recycled bottles, and feature sustainable or eco-friendly plant-based materials.

This was a terrific gift for our team as their outerwear takes a beating during their extended shifts in the forest; we need to replace it with quality gear every year to enable them to do their job - protecting gorillas 365 days a year.

Craghoppers has partnered with us since 2013, initially helping to outfit our Rwanda team and then expanding to provide equipment for our growing team in Congo. In fact, Felix Ndagijimana, our director of Rwanda programs, once served as a brand ambassador, one of a group of photographers, filmmakers, conservationists and adventurers who test the company’s clothing across a range of climates and inspire others with their passion and adventures.

In 2014, Craghoppers won an award for “Best Short Film” at the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival for their documentary “Hope,” which featured the important and difficult work of our trackers in Rwanda. The documentary was narrated by Sir David Attenborough and filmed by National Geographic photographer Pete McBride.

“We have always been blown away by the hard work the trackers do to protect the gorillas,” says James McNamara, brand director for Craghoppers. “Making sure they are warm and dry while doing their job is our way of giving back. This relationship has been built over almost nine years now and we hope to be supporting the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund for many years to come, documenting how things have progressed since the days of the ‘Hope’ film.”

Tracker Nkerakurinda Hamdan wearing his new Craghoppers fleece, which was made from recycled bottles.
CEO and Director of Rwanda Programs showing new jackets that will keep trackers dry when hiking through rainforests to track gorillas.
Tara Stoinski and Felix Ndagijimana in the field wearing Craghoppers jackets in 2020.

We are grateful to Craghoppers and to all our partners who help us chase our goal of protecting the world’s last remaining gorillas. Thanks to them we are changing the future for these magnificent animals and for the health of our planet as a whole.

Murakoze from our trackers in the field.