The Ambassador for the 2009 ‘Year of the Gorilla,’ Ian Redmond, will don a gorilla costume and run the unique Great Gorilla Run, a 7km trek around the streets of London – on knuckles as part of his efforts to pool money to support the Gorilla Organization formerly known as the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
The event, will take place mid this month.
Redmond worked with the late Dian Fossey and mountain gorillas in Rwanda before the latter passed away more than a two decades ago.
Ever since then, he has dedicated most of his time researching and raising awareness of gorillas and conservation.
He is also the Chief Consultant for GRASP - the UNEP/UNESCO Great Ape Survival Partnership.
The Great Gorilla Run is in its seventh year and has raised more than sixty thousand pounds for grassroots community projects in areas of precious gorilla habitat in Africa, including the training of 13,000 Rwandan farmers in sustainable agricultural techniques.
It has also built water cisterns in Rwanda and DR Congo and involved almost 30,000 young members in conservation activities through wildlife clubs in Rwanda and Uganda.
Formerly The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund Europe, the Gorilla Organization was inspired by Dian Fossey herself to raise funds to protect gorillas. In 2002 the Gorilla Organization won the BBC International Award for Outstanding Work in Conservation.
On the fund’s website, Redmond says “I have spent hundreds of hours in the company of apes and have had the good fortune to regard some of them as friends.
Out of all the countries in the world, only ten have gorillas. I have signed up to the Great Gorilla Run to raise money for projects that reduce pressure on vital gorilla habitat to try and save them from extinction.”
Redmond is currently travelling in Africa visiting the ten home-range countries of gorillas for Year of the Gorilla. More than 500 people have already signed-up to take part in this year’s run.
In June this year, Redmond participated in the International Conference on Gorilla Conservation in Rwanda which preceded the annual Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony.