Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund staff to visit Oklahoma City Zoo

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund CEO and its research director will lead a discussion of mountain gorillas in Rwanda on Tuesday at the Oklahoma City Zoo's Rosser Center auditorium.
BY MATT PATTERSON mpatterson@opubco.com Published: October 20, 2012
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When Oklahoma City Zoo Executive Director Dwight Scott traveled to Rwanda last year, it's safe to say he was in his element.

He began his career as a keeper focusing on gorillas. And he sits on the board of one of the most prestigious conservation organizations in the world: the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

Fossey was the inspiration for “Gorillas in the Mist,” a 1988 film that chronicles the life of the researcher who pioneered the study of mountain gorillas in Rwanda. Fossey was murdered in 1985 in Rwanda but her work lives on.

The CEO of the Dian Fossey Fund, Clare Richardson, and research director Veronica Vecellio will give a presentation at the Oklahoma City Zoo at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Rosser Center auditorium on the zoo grounds. The presentation is open to the public. Rwandan dancers from OCU will perform at 5:45 p.m.

Scott was able to visit Rwanda last year, an experience that demonstrated the value of the work of the Fossey Fund.

“Today it is one of the longest research projects going on in the world,” Scott said. “Because of the methods they use, they have developed some great tracking and monitoring techniques and we knew the population is on the upswing. That's good to hear because in animal conservation there are not a lot of positive stories.”

During his visit last year, Scott was able to view mountain gorillas in the wild. He came away impressed with the work of researchers who monitor the 16 troops of gorillas that have been indentified in the area he visited. A troop consists of anything from two to 30 gorillas.

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