Emmy Rossum

Photo credit: Emmy Rossum & Sam Esmail


Gorilla Doctors, an international team of veterinarians providing life-saving care to wild endangered mountain and Grauer’s gorillas in east-central Africa, today announces the appointment of actor Emmy Rossum as Goodwill Ambassador.

Currently starring in the Showtime television series “Shameless,” the award-winning actor is a long-time advocate of animals and the environment. As a Gorilla Doctors Goodwill Ambassador, Ms. Rossum will dedicate her efforts toward raising awareness about the precarious state of these gorillas. There are just 1,004 mountain gorillas left in the world, and Grauer’s gorillas number in the few thousands.

“We are excited and honored to work with Emmy,” said Kirsten Gilardi, DVM, U.S. Director of Gorilla Doctors. “Her passion for the care and survival of these endangered great apes will help the Gorilla Doctors’ story reach and inspire new audiences.”

Ms. Rossum and her husband Sam Esmail traveled to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda for their honeymoon in June 2017 to see mountain gorillas for the first time.

“Our visit to Rwanda was transformative” said Rossum. “The beauty of the country is breathtaking and the kindness of the people is incredibly moving. Going into the mountains to see the gorillas in their natural environment was something I’d dreamed of doing for years. After hiking in, we sat quietly for an hour watching as the gorillas ate, played and rested in the afternoon sun. To see gorillas in person is to realize that they are incredibly human. I felt a deep, instant connection to them.”

Though based in the U.S., Gorilla Doctors is staffed by Rwandan, Ugandan and Congolese wildlife veterinarians who treat injured and ill gorillas in their forest homes in the protected areas of the Virunga Massif, spanning the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.

“I am so proud to support Gorilla Doctors,” said Rossum. “Their veterinarians are working tirelessly every day to care for these magnificent animals, helping the population grow and ensuring their survival in the wild.”

The nonprofit Gorilla Doctors is the only group providing mountain and Grauer’s gorillas with direct, hands-on veterinary care in the wild. Since its formation in 1986, at the behest of the world-famous primatologist Dian Fossey, Gorilla Doctors has performed more than 400 interventions, like removing rope snares, to save gorilla lives.

As a Goodwill Ambassador, Ms. Rossum also joins the Gorilla Doctors’ Advisory Council, a dedicated group of gorilla experts and conservationists. Members include television host and wildlife advocate Jack Hanna, Joanne Horowitz, Linda Lowenstine, Stuart Nixon, Jan Ramer, Kelly Stewart, Dominic Travis and Lara Zekaria. Their profiles can be viewed at www.gorilladoctors.org/about-us/board-advisors/.

Media Inquiries:
Kirsten Gilardi, U.S. Director, Gorilla Doctors, kvgilardi@gorilladoctors.org or 530-304-1241

About Gorilla Doctors
Gorilla Doctors is an international team dedicated to conserving wild mountain and eastern lowland (or Grauer’s) gorillas through life-saving veterinary medicine and a One Health approach. Gorilla Doctors is a partnership between the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the nonprofit Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP, Inc.), a Maryland-registered not-for-profit. For more information, please visit www.gorilladoctors.org.

About Emmy Rossum
Emmy Rossum is an award-winning actor currently starring in the television series “Shameless”. In addition to her television and film work, Rossum advocates for the environment and animals. Rossum grew up in New York City and currently resides in Los Angeles. Ms. Rossum can be contacted through Wolf Kasteler Public Relations (alliej@wk-pr.com or annettw@wk-pr.com)