The first initiative of the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund is to help build a permanent home for Dian Fossey's organization, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, in Rwanda.  This campus will inspire and educate local communities and tourists, engage scientific and conservation trailblazers to share knowledge  and provide a training ground for a new wave of African scientists committed to conservation.

The ellen Degeneres Campus Of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

  • Multi-acre, ecologically-friendly campus, with over 50,000 square feet of building space, located immediately adjacent to Volcanoes National Park.  The campus expresses in its design the best in sustainable architecture, local resourcing, and environmentally-responsible practices. 

  • A scientific and conservation library to provide staff, student and partner access to the scientific writings and online content necessary for advancing their studies.

  • Collaborative workspace to encourage engagement and interactions both within the Fossey Fund staff as well as with partners, students, and community members. 

  • Outdoor, living laboratories where students can directly observe and participate in studying key ecological concepts, such as reforestation or citizen science; this would be a way to bring the forest and its biodiversity to primary and secondary students who are not able to visit the mountain gorillas.

  • Meeting space for up to 100 to host important local and regional partner meetings and to convene the brightest minds for the benefit of wild gorilla protection and science, and for the benefit of the communities who live closest to the gorillas. 

  • A dynamic and interactive exhibit that focuses on Dian Fossey’s story, the conservation of mountain gorillas in Rwanda, and other programs; it will act as a key attraction for tourists as well as a completely unique educational opportunity for local communities. 

  • Classrooms for educational programs for a variety of audiences—university students, local elementary and secondary schools, community leaders as well as visiting tourists. 

  •  Dormitories and houses to host up to 40 students, partners, and visiting researchers, and to foster the development of personal as well as professional relationships. 

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International is dedicated to the conservation, protection and study of gorillas; to the training of the next generation of African conservationists; and to building the conservation capacity of local communities.



In Rwanda, the mountain gorilla population has doubled since Dian first began her critical work. They are the only great ape that is increasing in the wild. However, there are only 880 mountain gorillas alive on Earth.



We do not know what Dian would have been able to achieve had she survived, but we do know that her life’s work of studying and protecting gorillas lives on today…in the steady population of mountain gorillas in Africa as well as in the people of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

To learn more about the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund please visit