Introducing eleven-year-old ‘gorilla hero’ Addy. Over the last few years, Addy has raised thousands of dollars for charities such as the Dian Fossey Fund and the Ellen Fund through her ‘Gorilla Heroes’ social media campaigns and annual Gorilla Gala events. Just last month, her Gorilla Gala 2019 raised over US$2,100 for gorilla conservation.
After reading a book about endangered mountain gorillas, Addy decided she wanted to help – and began launching fundraising events and internet campaigns to raise money; and to spread the word about the problems that gorillas face in the wild.
Addy began making posters and selling lemonade, donating the money she made to gorilla conservation groups. She then created her own informative gorilla website and fundraising blog, called Gorilla Heroes.
With the help of her artist grandfather, Addy also began making Gorilla Heroes t-shirts using her very own logo, to raise money for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
There are thought to be only 1,000 mountain gorillas left in the wild, due to habitat loss, poaching, and catching human diseases.
We share around 98% of our DNA with the majestic mountain gorilla, which means that many of the diseases that humans carry can easily pass to the gorillas, who haven’t built up the necessary immunity to protect themselves from these illnesses. Something I recently discussed with Whitley Award winner Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka (you can find that here if you missed it).
Gorilla High 5!
Addy’s goal is to help gorillas thrive in the wild. Her most recent social media campaign, #GorillaHi5, saw her encouraging gorilla lovers from around the world to take a selfie giving an ‘air high-five’, in support of gorillas, to show that people from all over the world care about the great apes. So far she’s collected nearly 30 selfies from 15 different countries.
“I want to get other kids as excited about gorillas and conservation as I am,” Addy says.
“It’s been really cool to connect with other conservationists. I’ve met other young people trying to make a difference in climate change and animal conservation and it makes me even more confident in what I’m doing,” she explained.
Since launching the #GorillaHi5 campaign, Addy was invited to be an advisor to the book “My Lovely Gorillas”, written by an author in Rwanda.
He had the book translated into English so that Addy could share the book with her teachers and classmates.
Her school’s Green team then decided to take part in the Go Bananas challenge, which is a project based on cell phone recycling because the mineral used in cell phones is being mined from gorillas’ habitat.
Addy also started the #GorillaPie Challenge for World Gorilla Day – the idea being that you get nominated, get “pied,” make a donation, then nominate others.
Videos of conservationists have popped up on various social media platforms in support of the campaign.
“I raised quite a bit of money with the #GorillaPie Challenge and caught the attention of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Board of Directors,” Addy explains.
“Board member David Singer even came to visit me, bringing me special gifts all the way from Rwanda, including a hand-carved walking stick that he used on his trek to see the gorillas. Dave and I even pied each other!”
Addy hosted her first Gorilla Gala in June 2018; raising over £700 and bringing in more than 75 guests.
The event featured gorilla-themed games and crafts, a raffle, an information booth and a Virtual Reality Gorilla Experience and a Gorilla Relay Race.
After such success the first time around, last month, Addy held the second annual Gorilla Gala (22nd June 2019). Her current fundraising total for stands at US$2335!
What’s next for Gorilla Heroes?
In the future, Addy hopes to raise more money, for her favourite gorilla charities and educate more children about the plight of mountain gorillas.
She is currently using her artistic skills to encourage donations to her Fossey Fundraiser page — sending a customised, unique handmade gorilla canvas to those who make a donation.*
*To those based in the US. Please contact Gorilla Heroes for more information if you live internationally.
Thank you Addy for my wonderful Kate on Conservation gorilla canvas! And well done on your incredible fundraising efforts!
Learn more about gorilla conservation?
Want to know more about gorillas?
- Check out Dan Richardson’s guest post ‘gorillas in the wild’
- Discover ‘Gorilla Socks’
- Immerse yourself in Gorilla Safari VR
- Discover vEcotours
- Remembering Harambe the gorilla
- Discover what happened when Sir David Attenborough met the gorillas
- Go behind the scenes of Gordon Buchanan’s ‘Gorilla Family & Me
- Finding the GoGo Gorillas
Want to know more about Dr Louis Leakey’s primate research team?