Dear Furless Friends,
Since most people can’t make it to the jungles of Africa, we are pretending the jungles are in Austin, Texas. Keep your eyes open on January 17, 2015, when hundreds of people dressed as mountain gorillas will run through the streets of downtown Austin. The Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund is hosting the 5th Annual Austin Gorilla Run, a way for all of us to keep Dian Fossey’s dream alive.
In 1985, Dian Fossey was murdered. The Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund (MGCF) took the initiative to keep her dream alive. When MGCF took over the project, there were only 248 mountain gorillas left in the WORLD. Because of the projects that MGCF oversees, there are now 880 in the countries of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mountain gorillas live only in Africa. These animals do not survive in captivity; therefore, they’ll never be seen in zoos.
Mountain gorillas are one of our closest relatives, sharing 98.6% of our DNA. This makes them a close link to mankind, and we are trying to help keep these animals from extinction. MGCF introduced veterinary medicine in 1986 through a project called Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project. The local governments are convinced that this project saved the gorillas from extinction during the war in the mid-90′s.
MGCF developed a veterinary education department in central Africa’s largest university, called Makerere University. This program trains local Ugandans and Rwandans to be veterinarians. Their first task after graduating is to protect mountain gorillas. Afterward, they expand to other wildlife in Uganda and Rwanda. But the current facility at the university has outgrown itself. MGCF needs support in raising funds to build an expansion, which will provide new lecture halls and a wildlife museum to conserve gorilla remains for continuing study. In 1986 MGCF was the first organization in the world to build an on-location veterinary center for the protection of endangered animals. Since then, twenty expatriate veterinarians have served in these countries. Now locals are well enough trained to take over and protect their own wildlife. This is a great thing for central Africa!
How We Can Help
Your registration fee directly benefits the mountain gorillas. In addition, we suggest that each of you gorillas raise a minimum of $250. The process is easy, check out the Fundraising Toolkit for more information, fundraising instructions, a pledge form, and great pledge incentives.
In difficult economic times your support is very important to the gorillas. Please help in any way you can. Thanks so much from all the gorillas!