Mountain Gorillas | November 27, 2018

The Hirwa group of mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda has 19 individuals right now, including a set of twins (which is rare among mountain gorillas), the dominant silverback, Munyinga, and some really cute infants. Hirwa means “the lucky one” in Kinyarwanda.

In mid-November, the mountain gorilla (pictured) was upgraded from critically endangered to endangered. While the population is still very small, estimated at just about 1,000 individuals spread across three countries, it’s a major conservation success due to major conservation efforts. However, the Eastern gorilla species is still overall very endangered, specifically the Grauer’s gorilla (or Eastern lowland gorilla). Grauer’s gorillas only live in Democratic Republic of Congo, and 80 percent are thought to have been lost in the last 20 years. 

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International | November 26, 2018

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International is working on a lot of exciting and meaningful projects, including creating the Ellen DeGeneres Campus, which will be the new home to the research center and will be closer to Volcanoes National Park; have housing for researchers and students; and will have traditional and living laboratories. I was able to return to the Karisoke Research Center in Musanze, Rwanda on November 26 and reconnect with my former co-workers and friends. While I was there, I captured some photos around the office and lead a photo training with staff.

Nashulai Conservancy and Masai Mara | November 23-25, 2018

Masai Mara is exactly what you imagine when you think of a Kenyan safari: open savannah, a silhouetted acacia tree and the animals you immediately think of when you think of Africa (the big five perhaps). However, less is thought about the land directly surrounding the Mara. Much of it is made up of a network of conservancies and protected areas, intended to help wildlife and the regional Maasai population prosper.

One of those areas is the Nashulai Conservancy. The conservancy was founded in 2016. (The first conservancy started up in 1995.) The land, with a name meaning coexistence between human and wildlife, is about 5,000 acres and is owned by 71 different individuals. Nashulai was founded by and is run by the Maasai community.