Rwanda's Gorillas - 2017

As usual, our suite was about as far from the common areas as possible, but the long walks did us good. Before reaching the lodge, we stopped at the Dian Fossey Foundation's Karisoke Research Center to observe the continuing work being done in her name and also to learn more about the gorillas we would be visiting. It is not a sleek modern building, but a simple concrete structure in the middle of a small town. This was reassuring actually because it made us believe that contributions go to gorilla conservation and research as she would have wanted and not to make some beautiful building enshrining her name and legacy. But that legacy was clear in the exhibits and the zeal of the people working and volunteering there. It was there that we discovered how the $750.00 per person per trek fee is disbursed. All of it is directly or indirectly connected with conservation of the gorillas. A percentage goes to the farmers whose fields are often disturbed by the gorillas who leave the national park to enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables the farmers are cultivating. Any farmer whose fields are disturbed by the animals is recompensed for his loss to prevent "revenge" killings. A different percentage goes to the surrounding villages for improvements for the people there: clinics, schools, & other desirable public projects. Some goes to pay the rangers and trackers who protect the gorillas from poaching as well as guiding the tourists to the sightings. Other monies pay for continuing research. And soon there will be more money to fund these efforts. We learned that our costs were as stated above and would be honored even though we purchased our "tickets" several months ago. Since July of this year, the new costs is $1500 per

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