World Gorilla Day Should Renew Our Commitment to Conservation

September 24, 2021 | 2 minute read
Colleen Cassity
VP of Oracle Social Impact, Executive Director of the Oracle Education Foundation
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The story of Dian Fossey’s heroic struggle to save endangered mountain gorillas continues to inspire. She risked and ultimately gave her life to protect these majestic primates—some of our closest evolutionary relatives—from poaching, trafficking, and other dangers placed upon them by humans. While she achieved so much—by both protecting these gorillas from extinction and helping researchers understand them better—many of the same threats to the species remain to this day. For this reason, Oracle has supported the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and its mission to learn from and preserve wildlife in Africa, for more than 30 years.

On September 24, the Oracle community joins in observing the fifth annual World Gorilla Day. It comes at a time when most of us are focused on local problems stemming from the seemingly endless COVID-19 pandemic and our prolonged isolation from the larger world.

But even with our liberty to travel curtailed, we're all still citizens of this extraordinary planet, and we can't abdicate our responsibilities. Because the threat to mountain gorillas is happening in the forests of Africa doesn’t make it any less relevant to our lives, wherever we may be. Human encroachment is still threatening gorillas by damaging their habitat and spreading disease. And preventing poaching of great apes for profit is an enduring challenge.

infant gorilla face treesI know it’s hard to think about a problem so far away in the midst of so many closer to home, but the pandemic should remind us that we are all part of a global ecosystem, and that a problem in one part of the world can quickly spill over to the rest. If we do not continue to support conservation efforts, we may never fully gain the greater scientific understanding of gorilla behavior and brain structures that Dian began discovering through her groundbreaking research, and the light that understanding could shine on our own species.

September 24, 2021 marks 54 years since Dian established the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda, where she revolutionized how we study primates and how conservation efforts can work to protect wild animals and habitats. Karisoke is now the gold standard for gorilla research and conservation, and it has expanded its mission to support the well-being of not only gorillas, but also the communities of people living near the gorillas. We are committed to supporting this work as the Gorilla Fund and the Center train the next generation of African conservationists who will ensure that Dian’s legacy is built upon. For more information on how you can help, take action here. 

Colleen Cassity

VP of Oracle Social Impact, Executive Director of the Oracle Education Foundation

Colleen Cassity is the Vice President of Oracle Social Impact and the Executive Director of the Oracle Education Foundation

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