On 24th September 1967, between the slopes of Mounts Karisimbi and Visoke within the Virunga Volcanoes, Dian Fossey founded the Karisoke Research Centre to monitor and protect mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Fifty years later, the Reseach Centre continues her work and mountain gorillas are thriving thanks to one of the greatest international conservation success stories there are.
Back then the outlook was very different. Very little was understood about gorillas, and not only did Dian Fossey do more than anybody else to help transform their image from wild beast to gentle giant, but she quickly realised that they were in grave danger from poaching and habitat loss. By 1981 their population in the Virunga Volcanoes had fallen to approximately 250.
Since then, despite Dian Fossey’s murder in 1985, and thanks to a concerted international conservation effort and the successful development of gorilla tourism, the Virunga population has almost doubled. Together with those in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, there are now up 900 mountain gorillas. Despite the success, they remain critically endangered and in need of a constant conservation effort to prevent their population declining again.
At Tusk we are extremely grateful to have had the considerable support of Volcanoes Safaris, who are part of this success story and arrange unforgettable trips to see the mountain gorillas. We also support the conservation of all four subspecies of gorilla, as follows:
• Mountain gorillas at Bwindi through Conservation Through Public Health
• Eastern lowland gorillas in DR Congo through the Gorilla Organization
• Western lowland gorillas in Gabon through the Loango Gorilla Project
• Cross River Gorillas in Cameroon though ERuDeF
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