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Saving Gorillas from Extinction

August 14 6 PM$25

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Sanctuary leader returns to the Detroit Zoo for public talk

 The Detroit Zoological Society, a partner in a collaborative worldwide effort to save the highly endangered Grauer’s gorilla, will host a special presentation by leaders of the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) Center in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Dr. Sonya Kahlenberg, GRACE Executive Director, addressed a near-capacity crowd when she first visited the Detroit Zoo in 2014.

In her upcoming presentation, Dr. Kahlenberg will provide an update on the successes and challenges faced by the organization in rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned Grauer’s gorillas. The presentation will take place on Sunday, August 14 at 6 p.m. in the Ford Education Center. The event is open to the public but space is limited. Registration is $25 for the general public and $10 for staff, volunteers and docents with all proceeds benefitting GRACE.

GRACE is the only sanctuary in the world that provides rescue and rehabilitative care for Grauer’s gorillas – considered one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates. The organization was founded in 2009 by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and is now led by a board of directors chaired by Ron Kagan, Detroit Zoological Society Executive Director and CEO.

GRACE is located in a remote, forested area of eastern DRC and is currently home to 14 orphaned Grauer’s gorillas between the ages of 3 and 15 years old. Also known as eastern lowland gorillas, Grauer’s gorillas are closely related to the better-known mountain gorillas as well as to humans. They are threatened by widespread habitat destruction, poaching and threats associated with ongoing insecurity and unrest in the region.

In the last 20 years, nearly 80 percent of the Grauer’s gorilla population has been wiped out, and only 3,800 of these animals remain in the wild today. As part of the effort to conserve the species, the orphaned gorillas being cared for at GRACE are also learning skills for eventual reintroduction into the wild.

Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

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