We’re very excited to announce that we are starting a farm! As the number of gorillas at GRACE increases and the gorillas grow larger in size, the amount of vegetation required to meet their dietary needs also increases. GRACE is located in natural Grauer’s gorilla habitat which gives the gorillas access to many wild foods, but the supply is not infinite.
Therefore, in July we established a farm near GRACE to cultivate fast-growing species such as elephant grass and wild bananas (both gorilla favorites!). This project will help us secure a sustainable supply of vegetation that will supplement what the gorillas are foraging for themselves inside their 24-acre forest enclosure. We are also growing a variety of vegetables on our farm, particularly ones not easily sourced in our region, in order to increase the breadth of the gorillas’ diet. Getting the gorillas used to trying new foods helps prepare them for reintroduction, since they will undoubtedly encounter new foods in the wild.
The GRACE farm initiative is led by Jeanny Kahindu Misave, a trained botanist and GRACE’s Research Manager, and is funded by a grant from the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation. We will pilot the farm for a year then hopefully continue to grow it (and our crops!). We’ve had very good rains lately, so we’re off to a great start. Stay tuned for updates!
GORILLA REHABILITATION AND CONSERVATION EDUCATION (GRACE) CENTER – Founded in 2009 by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in collaboration with the Congolese Wildlife Authority (ICCN) and Tayna Center for Conservation Biology, GRACE is the only facility in the world dedicated to providing in situ rehabilitative care for orphaned Grauer’s gorillas and ultimately aims to reintroduce gorillas back into the wild. GRACE also works with local communities, through education and other outreach programs, to help ensure the long-term survival of wild gorilla populations. Other major partners for this project include Disney, Holtzman Wildlife Foundation, and the Houston, Dallas, Nashville, Detroit, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, and Utah’s Hogle Zoos. For more information about GRACE, please visit www.gracegorillas.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to help, please visit our secure online donation page.