Mountain Gorillas and the African Wildlife Foundation By Craig Sholley Vice President for Philanthropy and Marketing, African Wildlife Foundation Craig’s experiences with wildlife and conservation began in 1973 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire. As an L.S.B. Leakey grant researcher in the late 1970’s, Craig studied mountain gorillas with Dian Fossey and, in 1987, became director of Rwanda’s Mountain Gorilla Project, of which African Wildlife Foundation was a sponsor. He became a full-time employee of AWF in 2001 and now serves as Vice President for Philanthropy and Marketing. The world’s remaining mountain gorillas live in three countries spanning four national parks – Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Virunga National Park. Infant Moutain Gorillia at Bwindi, Uganda in Eastern Africa A 2011 census recorded fewer than 900 mountain gorillas left in the wild. The gorillas’ biggest threats come from deforestation and the region’s growing population. The forests where mountain gorillas live are fertile and rich in biodiversity, making this one of the most populated regions in Africa, with 85% of the population making its living by growing food on the land. As people move closer to where gorillas live, they also bring the risk of spreading human diseases to gorillas such as the flu, pneumonia, and even ebola. War in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has resulted in more than four million lives lost over the past 14 years.
Read More ›