An orphaned gorilla curls up with a ranger who is her caregiver.
Photograph by Brent Stirton, Reportage by Getty Images
How to Help
July 2008
Virunga Gorillas: How to Help

After the July 2007 killings of endangered mountain gorillas, possibly by people involved in the illegal charcoal trade, a mobile antipoaching force stayed close to gorillas in Virunga National Park. But the Democratic Republic of the Congo's parks authority, ICCN, must keep the animals safe when these guards are needed elsewhere.

Many groups are working to protect the gorillas and support the people fighting for their survival.

Virunga National Park
This is the park's official website.

Nairobi-based WildlifeDirect, founded by anthropologist Richard Leakey, helps outfit wildlife rangers in Virunga National Park and supplement their government salaries. The group's website hosts blogs where rangers and others post news and pictures from the field. Online donors can specify where their funds go—for patrol rations, medical kits, or support for the families of rangers killed on duty.

Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International
Founded by the gorilla researcher murdered in 1985, this organization helps care for young gorillas like the one whose mother was killed in July.

Frankfurt Zoological Society
FZS has trained and equipped hundreds of rangers; it also provides aircraft to help the ICCN monitor gorillas and direct antipoaching forces from the air.

International Gorilla Conservation Program
This coalition works with the governments of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda.

Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project
Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project field vets make routine health visits to habituated gorilla groups in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in partnership with park rangers, guides, patrols, monitoring agents, and scientists from various organizations.

Wildlife Conservation Society
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is one of the only organizations in the world working to protect all four gorilla subspecies—each of which is threatened by extinction. For nearly half a century the WCS has initiated and supported gorilla research and conservation projects throughout Africa.

Zoological Society of London
In addition to helping supplement rangers' salaries, the ZSL works with D.R. Congo's park authority to help manage Virunga National Park as a whole.