The experience of trekking mountain gorillas in Rwanda is something everybody should have a chance to do, according to Ellen DeGeneres.
The American TV star made the remarks on Monday night, February 18, during her show in a segment her partner Portia de Rossi revealed the ‘progress’ of Ellen’s 61st birthday gift, days after she returned from Rwanda for the ground breaking ceremony of the Ellen DeGeneres Campus, in the Northern Province.
Both stars, gushed about their experience in Rwanda trekking the mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National, often joking about the physical challenges, with Ellen telling the audience that the experience is something everybody should have a chance to do.
Reacting to Portia’s most recent encounter with the mountain gorillas, DeGeneres said that the experience is thrilling and encouraged members of the audience to visit especially when the campus is completed.
“Basically they will just bump into you on their way past you. It is really a life changing experience. I hope and especially when the campus is built, everybody will have a chance to go to Rwanda and experience this,” Ellen said, adding that the adults are really huge.
“We went to Rwanda and fell in love with the people of the country because the people are happy and friendly. It is a beautiful country,” said DeGeneres.
On her part, Portia said that when she encountered a big female mountain gorilla, she wanted it to push her but it never happened since she stood her ground.
Portia, 46, presented DeGeneres with the Gorilla Campus gift last year, and the two followed up with a visit in May last year to establish the process of building the Campus which is dedicated to mountain gorilla conservationist Dian Fossey.
The duo met President Paul Kagame, and also endorsed the Visit Rwanda initiative.
Portia returned to Rwanda at the beginning of this month to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony of the campus located in Musanze District. Once complete it is expected to boost conservation efforts.
During the show, Portia said that it was an incredible experience and overwhelming to kick start the project which will create about 1, 500 jobs and benefit the whole area.
“Millions of dollars will go into the economy because of your campus. It was a really special overwhelming moment,” she said, adding "It was an incredible experience. I mean, I just couldn't believe the feeling of gratitude, which was really overwhelming for me.”
DeGeneres said that she has always adored Dian Fossey’s work and the mountain gorillas because they are intelligent animals.