Over half of the earth’s few remaining mountain gorillas live in a remote region of Uganda called the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Here these endangered gorillas live a peaceful family-centered existence, protected by the leader of each troop, its male silverback. Tragically, Rafiki , the famed silverback leader of the Nkuringo gorilla group, was killed while trying to protect his family from poachers last week. Now, without their leader, the 16 remaining members of the troop are even more vulnerable than before. They need your help.
The local park rangers play a critical role in protecting the mountain gorillas from encroachment by hunters and poachers. Sadly, now with the park closed due to COVID-19 and no visitors’ fees to generate money for the rangers’ salaries, they are struggling. Money raised by this page will help supplement the rangers’ salaries to ensure that they are able to continue protecting these magnificent, vulnerable primates.
Learn more about Rafiki's life and the Nkuringo Mountain Gorilla Family here .
“With COVID-19 and the ban on travel worldwide, we’re saddened to learn that Rafiki has been killed by a poacher who had gone into the park to hunt. With most businesses closed and most people unemployed we are saddened that the effects of COVID-19 are spreading into the wildlife conservation efforts that have taken a lot of time for us to put in place and to protect these endangered mountain gorillas and wildlife in all parks,” says Lydia Nandudu, co-founder of Nkuringo Mountain Gorilla Lodge.
Uganda Wildlife Authority Park Rangers are keeping a keen eye on the Nkuringo gorilla group to ensure the family is protected and doesn’t get attacked by an unhabituated gorilla. Rangers hope that one of the silverbacks from a nearby group (either Christmas or Posho) will take over the leadership of this group.
At the time Rafiki died, the Nkuringo group had 17 gorillas. The silverback was the dominant male in the group that also included three blackbacks (younger mature males), eight adult females, two juveniles and three infants, according to the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Mountain gorillas have become one of Africa’s greatest conservation success stories with current numbers at 1063 mountain gorillas in the wild. Poaching is the greatest hindrance to keeping those numbers multiplying. "We believe the death of Rafiki will mark the end of poaching in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and together with the community leaders, we will focus on sensitizing the communities to the value of conserving wildlife for future generations," proclaims a hopeful Lydia Nandudu.
Please help support the park rangers (and their families) and contribute what you can and share this link. Help us thank them for the critical work they do. In this time when the forest is empty of tourists and gorillas are more vulnerable to poachers, the rangers are working harder than ever! These dedicated local men and women are our last line of defense for the magnificent gorillas.
All proceeds from the GoFundMe campaign will go directly to the local rangers in the Nkuringo sector of the park where Rafiki's group lives.
The Fundraising Team:
I have been in love with mountain gorillas since I was 11 years old. I was two months away from my first trip to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest when COVID-19 happened. Reading about Rafiki’s murder prompted me to write to Lydia Nandudu, (owner of the Nkuringo Mountain Gorilla Lodge where I had planned on staying), and ask if I could organize a fundraiser to help.
Amy has a lifelong love of adventure travel and spends much of her year abroad. She has managed one of Costa Rica's first eco-tourism hotels, which is located inside the leatherback sea turtle marine reserve, and is the author of “SOLA One Woman’s Journey Alone Across South America ."
As an adventurer and avid explorer with a passion for off-the-beaten track experiences, Lydia co-founded Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge in 2007, a company which was soon recognized by World Travel Awards and ‘TripAdvisor Hall of Fame’ . As a trained social worker, she is passionate about sustainable tourism and local community development. She runs, facilitates and funds community-based projects that improve the welfare of communities and enriches the lives of individuals. Lydia is our contact in Uganda, and will distribute funds to the rangers.
- Paula Carson
- Matthew Cummings
- jamie walker
- David Storm
Fundraising team (2)
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