Deborah and Volcanoes National park staff.We’d like to introduce you to one of our newest Advisory Board members, Deborah L. Dunham of Davis, California. When asked about her connection to mountain gorillas, here is what Deborah had to say:

“I can’t imagine anyone spending time looking into the eyes of a mountain gorilla and not feeling some special connection. It’s an experience unlike anything else and difficult to put into words. How do you explain to anyone what it was like to sit on the side of a spectacular mountain in Rwanda with mountain gorillas and feel as comfortable as though you were with relatives on a Sunday picnic?

I had two treks while in Rwanda – both very different – both very special. The most difficult trek happened on my birthday and the views were beautiful – we were literally on the side of the mountain surrounded by lush vegetation with female gorillas and their infants and juveniles rolling down the hillside like I used to do when I was a child. All the while, the big silverback, Agasha, sat above us munching on bamboo and keeping an eye on things. It was amazing!

As you know, there are only a few hundred mountain gorillas in existence. The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project and others have worked diligently to ensure the preservation of the mountain gorilla over the last 25 years. Because of their efforts, the numbers for habituated gorillas are increasing. The survival of the mountain gorilla, unfortunately, is not assured, but it is, I believe, worth fighting for. I’m happy to join the fight.”

Please join us in welcoming Deborah to the MGVP community!