Too often stories involving poachers and endangered species don’t have a happy ending. This time however, thanks to the ongoing collaboration between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to protect wild gorillas, there was a happy ending.
We are thrilled to share the story of Pinga, Serufuli, Tumaini, Ntabwoba, Itebero and Dunia, six orphaned Grauer’s gorillas who have been cared for in Rwanda for many years by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, and were recently transferred back to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they had originally been confiscated from poachers.
At the time of their rescue, there were no facilities in DRC to house the orphans and ensure them a safe environment so the six orphans came into the care of the Fossey Fund and MGVP at a temporary facility in Kinigi, Rwanda. Throughout the years, an incredible joint conservation effort between the two countries saw the gorillas rehabilitated in Rwanda while plans for their long-term future were being made across the border. The state-of-the-art Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) facility opened last year in eastern DRC, the gorillas could finally return home. The GRACE center is the first facility of its kind in east central Africa, with room for up to 30 young gorillas to live in species-typical groups and roam through 350 acres of natural habitat.
Juan Carlos Bonilla, the Fossey Fund’s vice president for Africa programs said: “we are thrilled to finally see these gorillas where they belong.” “This is a victory for conservation as well as a wonderful example of how two countries worked together to achieve such an important goal” he added.