For nearly 50 years, these trackers and anti-poachers have carried out daily protection and monitoring of critically endangered mountain gorillas, bringing this population back from the brink of extinction. Each day, the trackers trek through dense forests to locate the gorillas, monitor their status, and handle any dangers they may face, such as poachers’ snares.
The Disney award recognizes local citizens for their commitment to reversing the decline of wildlife and engaging communities in conservation. Recipients from around the world were nominated by nonprofit environmental organizations, and each honoree and the nominating organization will share a monetary award from the fund.
The Karisoke trackers, who support the work of the Rwandan national park authorities by protecting roughly half of Rwanda’s gorillas, are so successful that the mountain gorilla population has more than doubled since the time of Dian Fossey, and is the only wild ape population whose numbers are stable. The trackers now collectively spend more than 110,000 person-hours in the field each year, working under extremely challenging conditions. Many of the trackers have devoted their entire working lives to this unique conservation effort, and some have lost their lives in the line of duty over the years as well.
“These trackers have dedicated their lives to ensuring the mountain gorillas survive. They are truly the front line in the fight against extinction,” says Fossey Fund President and CEO/Chief Scientific Officer, Tara Stoinski, Ph.D. “We at the Fossey Fund are so incredibly proud of their hard work and dedication, and the hard work of rangers around the world who risk their lives so that we can continue to enjoy the beauty that is elephants, orangutans, rhinos and the thousands of other species with whom we share the planet. And, we are very grateful to the Disney Conservation Fund for recognizing their service,” she adds.
Purchasing our bamboo socks and you can support the gorilla trackers. We donate to the fund at least 10% of all our profits. For more info on our pledge, check our website.