Opening of Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Ellen DeGeneres Campus in Rwanda is officially open and accepting guests after four years of rigorous development. The campus is located just outside of Volcanoes National Park, which is home to endangered mountain gorillas, whom the initiative seeks to conserve and promote.
Ellen DeGeneres dedicated the Ellen DeGeneres Campus to the permanent home of the Dian Fossey Fund, which was established to carry on Dian Fossey’s mission of saving mountain gorillas after her tragic death in 1985.
The gorilla refuge, according to Ellen DeGeneres, was a present from her wife Portia de Rossi for her 60th birthday four years ago. Portia described how Ellen’s desire to emulate Fossey and her work inspired her to offer her this lifetime gift.
“Many years ago, my wife, Ellen, told me that when she was a small child in New Orleans, Louisiana, she stumbled upon a National Geographic magazine with Dian Fossey on the cover.” Ellen was transformed after witnessing that brave American woman, a biologist, who abandoned her luxurious life to put up a tent in the Rwandan jungle to conserve a species on the verge of extinction. It changed her perspective on the world and her role in it. Ellen became a pioneer after learning about this passionate, determined biologist and the influence one person can have, much like her hero, Dian.
“I’m here because it’s always been my ambition to connect my wife, Ellen, to her hero in a meaningful and lasting way.” My desire coincided with the Fossey Fund Leadership’s 15-year goal of constructing a permanent home in Rwanda. As a result, Karisoke’s permanent home will be the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Ellen DeGeneres Campus.
“…It is my goal that the campus will serve as a spark, encouraging us to dream larger, to realize that we, too, can make a difference and that all of us, like Ellen and Dian, can become trailblazers.” Portia de Rossi stated.
The campus is located on more than 12 acres of land near Volcanoes National Park in northwest Rwanda, and its building capacity is more than 50,000 square feet. The finest in ecologically responsible methods, sustainable architecture, and local sourcing.
Modern labs with a 500% increase in laboratory space, a scientific conservation library, and conference space for big groups,
An interactive display on Dian Fossey and the conservation of mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Indoor and outdoor classrooms offer a variety of activities for everyone from young children to scientists and visitors, as well as a large living laboratory with 250,000 native plants.
When the campus was finished, Ellen expressed her delight at having realized her childhood ambition of becoming Dian Fossey. Dian Fossey has always been a hero for many, and it’s been a lifetime honor to support this initiative.
Ellen chose to donate the site to the Dian Fossey Fund to help the conservation organization achieve its 20-year objective of constructing a permanent home. This was built with the audacious idea of assisting;
- Dian Fossey Fund’s long-term health and care
- Gorilla research
- Tourism that is responsible and
- The local population’s requirements
The Ellen DeGeneres Campus has become a significant investment in the local community, in addition to aiding conservation initiatives in Rwanda. Over 2,000 individuals have been hired, with 21% of them being women, and millions of dollars have been invested in local people and materials.
The campus was designed by the award-winning MASS Design Group and was chosen by CNN Style as one of Africa’s ten most anticipated architectural projects before its completion.
About Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park
Volcanoes National Park is part of the larger Virunga Conservation Area, which spans Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda. According to the most recent gorilla census, there are around 400 mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. The Park includes 12 groups that have been effectively habituated by trackers who have conditioned them to the presence of humans to enable tourism and ease surveillance.
Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park
Mountain gorilla protection in Volcanoes National Park has resulted in gorilla trekking safaris in the park. Every year, thousands of tourists visit the park to see these wonderful endangered primates in their natural habitat. To see the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, trekkers must pay $1,500 per person. According to gorilla conservation standards, each troop of mountain gorillas must be seen once each day by a party of eight trekkers. Visitors are also advised to avoid going too near to the gorillas and to be silent when in their presence.