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Who We Are

Our Mission:

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is dedicated to the conservation, protection and study of gorillas and their habitats in Africa. Our successful, integrated approach includes close collaboration with local governments and communities as well as partners from around the world.

Dr. Dian Fossey

In September 1967, Dr. Dian Fossey established the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda’s Virunga mountains and set in motion one of the longest-running studies of any animal species anywhere in the world. Her focus, courage and passion have inspired many conservationists who have followed since. And her legacy lives on today, in the gorilla protection, science, education and people programs of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.


The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund staff is a diverse group of people dedicated to the survival of gorillas and their habitats. We have teams in Atlanta as well as on the ground in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Our core mission is to save gorillas. We do this through a holistic approach that is founded on four key pillars: daily gorilla protection, scientific research, training the next generation of conservationists in Africa, and helping local communities. Our goal is to ensure the future of gorilla conservation for generations to come.

Financial Stewardship

The Fossey Fund has a long-standing reputation for meeting the highest standards of financial excellence. We take the same care and precaution to protect our financial resources that we do with our natural resources in the field. We work to ensure that every single dollar we receive is used to its full potential in order to conserve the precious endangered wildlife and habitat we protect.

Our History

Dr. Dian Fossey founded the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda’s Virungas Mountains in 1967 starting with just two tents, determined to protect and study the endangered mountain gorillas. Although Fossey’s life was cut short, we have continued and expanded her work ever since. In 2022, we opened our first permanent, purpose-built facility: the Ellen DeGeneres Campus, which now houses all of our work protecting mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Our work in DR Congo, which began in 2000, is based in the Nkuba Conservation Area, which we established with local communities in 2012 to provide increased protection to the rapidly decreasing Grauer’s gorillas.

Dian Fossey under Karisoke tent

Meet the great-granddaughter of gorilla royalty