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Gorillas are in trouble. They are hunted for meat, sold as pets, and habitat loss from expanding illegal activities including mining for gold, tantalum (found in many electronics, like cell phones) and other minerals affect their daily lives. The 2014 Houston Zoo Conservation Gala highlights and supports two outstanding organizations that save gorillas in the wild: Gorilla Doctors and GRACE.


Gorilla Doctors

Saving a Species One Gorilla at a Time
Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda

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The Gorilla Doctors are dedicated to saving the lives of critically-endangered mountain and Grauer’s gorillas through healthy care. Their international team of veterinarians is the only group providing these animals with direct, hands-on care in the wild. With only 880 mountain gorillas left in the world today, it is critical to ensure the health and well-being of every individual gorilla. The land surrounding the national parks where gorillas live is some of the most densely populated in Africa. As a result of intense human activity near and inside the parks, gorillas face numerous threats to their survival, including poaching and habitat loss. The team monitors the health of gorilla groups to ensure the early detection of disease and injury. When gorillas suffer from human-induced or life-threatening trauma or disease, the team stages medical interventions to save their lives.

Gorilla Orphans

As a result of poaching and the illegal trade of wild animals, Gorilla Doctors treat and care for confiscated gorilla orphans. Confiscated Grauer’s Gorillas are treated and then moved to the GRACE facility in the DR Congo once stabilized. Gorilla Doctors currently oversee the medical management of four mountain gorilla orphans – Ndeze, Ndakasi, Maisha, and Matabishi – at Virunga National Park’s Senkwekwe Center. Gorilla Doctors also assist all three governments by providing emergency and quarantine care for all gorillas from the moment they are rescued until their transfer to a long-term care facility.

 

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How We Are Helping

Gorilla doctors recognize that the health of the gorillas is inextricably linked to that of the entire ecosystem. In addition to providing life-saving care, our veterinary team further protects gorillas by supporting health programs for people and their animals living and working in and around gorilla habitat. The Houston Zoo supports local community health and educational programming for this effort. The Zoo also acts as a resource to secure needed funding for gorilla health, staff training, and outreach and awareness for the Gorilla Doctors program.

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What You Can Do for Gorilla Doctors

Cannot attend the event? You can support the protection of gorillas with as little as a $10 donation. Our goal is to raise $250,000 in support of range wide conservation programs.

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GRACE: Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center

A Future for Gorillas, Built on Community
Democratic Republic of Congo 

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GRACE’s mission is to provide the best facilities and care for rescued Grauer’s gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo while working alongside local communities to ensure gorilla survival in the wild. Eastern lowland gorillas, also known as Grauer’s gorillas (Gorilla beringei graueri), only live the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa. They are closely related to humans and are the largest subspecies of gorilla, making them the largest primate in the world.

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Grauer’s gorillas are highly endangered due to widespread habitat destruction, poaching, and threats associated with the every growing human population. Over the past decade, insecurity in eastern Congo has amplified these threats, making the situation even more dire. They are a close relative of the better known mountain gorilla, but tend to live at lower elevations and incorporate more fruit into their diet. Grauer’s gorillas mainly live in the forests of the Albertine Rift, which is recognized as one of Africa’s most important areas for biodiversity conservation.

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How We Are Helping

A symptom of the worsening situation for Grauer’s gorillas is the growing number of orphaned gorillas that have been confiscated by authorities in Congo and Rwanda over the past decade. The Houston Zoo plays a role in offering staff expertise in alleviating captive husbandry and management challenges for the rescued gorillas being housed at GRACE. The Zoo also supports local community educational programming and offers technical assistance for interactive marketing and website design.

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What You Can Do for GRACE

Cannot attend the event? You can support the protection of gorillas with as little as a $10 donation. Our goal is to raise $250,000 in support of range wide conservation programs.

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What You Can Do at the Zoo

Action for Apes

The Action for Apes Challenge is a yearly contest hosted by the Houston Zoo from January to APE-ril to see which school or community organization can recycle the most cell phones. By recycling old phones with the zoo you can help protect animals like chimpanzees and gorillas that live in areas where cell phone materials are mined. You can continue to recycle your old cell phones at the Zoo during all months of the year, outside of the challenge.

How Does This Help Save Animals Like Gorillas?

A material called tantalum is found in almost every cell phone, as well as in laptops and cameras. This metal comes from the ground in Central Africa, which happens to be where animals like chimpanzees, gorillas and okapis live. When the metal is taken from habitats to be used in electronics, the homes of chimps, gorillas and okapis become disrupted and these animal populations decrease.

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If you recycle your old cell phone with us, then the materials in the phone can be reused instead of getting new minerals from the ground in Central Africa. When you recycle your phone at the zoo, we return it to a company called Eco-Cell that sells the individual parts of the phone so that they can be reused. Any proceeds then go to conservation efforts to save animals in the wild.


How to Register

The PDF below contains all the options for attending this special event. Reserve your space now before seats sell out.

  Feed Your Wild Life Gala Registration Form 2014

Please make checks payable to: Houston Zoo Conservation

Mail the completed form and payment to:

Ginger Moon Houston Zoo 1513 Cambridge Street Houston, TX 77030

Register today – if we receive your reservation by July 1, 2014 you’ll be listed in the invitation!

 

 A Very Special Thank You To Our Sponsors

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