The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International is dedicated to the conservation, protection and study of gorillas and their habitats in Africa. Our successful, integrated approach includes close collaboration with local communities and worldwide partnerships.
Real LifeThe Fossey Fund has been one of the pioneers of intensive conservation efforts since Dian Fossey established the Karisoke Research Center in 1967 and began hiring rangers to conduct regular patrols of the Virungas. Having endured war, instability, and even natural disaster in the countries where we work, almost 50 years later, the Fossey Fund is still committed to the protection and monitoring programs that were at the core of Fossey's mission to protect the last remaining mountain gorillas.
The mountain gorilla population in the Virungas has almost doubled since Dian Fossey's time, when the population dropped to its lowest point of approx 250 individuals. Today, there are 480 mountain gorillas living in the Virunga massif. This kind of growth represents tremendous conservation success and the remarkable endurance of an extremely threatened species, but success presents challenges too.
The challenges the Fossey Fund has encountered in recent years are the larger geographic spread of the gorillas, who are moving to new areas of the park as the number of animals and family groups increase, which means that there is more area to cover during anti-poaching patrols; gorillas leaving the park and feeding on local crop trees, requiring round-the-clock monitoring and sometimes herding the gorillas back into the park; and changing demographics that have resulted in higher levels of infanticide.
Fortunately, the Fossey Fund is well-positioned with data about gorillas and their habitat that dates back to Dian Fossey's first years at Karisoke, and almost 50 years of experience working with mountain gorillas in the Virungas. And with your help, we know we can save gorillas.