Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Gorillas in the Congo? You’re virtually there…

22 December 2016

Categories: Homepage News, Primates Campaign News

Christmas is a time for family.   And while most people take this to mean reconnecting with seldom seen siblings, cousins, uncles and aunts, think for a moment about our wider zoological family.   Don’t you wish sometimes you could get away from it all to visit your more distant relatives, the great apes? 

If so, Born Free has a special Christmas gift for you this year.   In conjunction with the team that brought you virtual travel via, and just in the nick of time for Christmas, we are proud to present the first Born Free App, Gorilla Safari VR.   You can enjoy this App on a hand-held smart-phone or tablet, or if Santa brings you a VR headset, you can download it for free and immerse yourself fully on a virtual safari, taking you from the Born Free Foundation HQ in Sussex to the Democratic Republic of Congo in the heart of Africa.  

Available for both iOS - and Android - (or search for gorilla safari-VR)

I invite you to join me on this unique VR trip to learn more about the world’s largest primate – the Eastern Lowland, or Grauer’s Gorilla in the rainforest of Kahuzi-Biega National Park.   With us will be John Kahekwa, winner of the 2016 Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa, presented by HRH The Duke of Cambridge at the prestigious Tusk Awards this November  

In terms of dedication to conservation through thick and thin, John Kahekwa is an inspiration. I have known him as a friend, colleague and fellow gorillaphile since 1983.  While John has endured civil wars, refugee crises, attacks by armed militias and devastating poaching, he has also created a successful grassroots organisation - the Pole Pole Foundation - built a successful school, one classroom at a time, planted some four million trees and helped communities around Kahuzi-Biega out of poverty. On a personal note, he guided my sons on their first gorilla safari.   If anyone can guide you to a better understanding of Grauer’s Gorillas, it is John. 

Last year, John and I helped the BBC to make a two-part series on these amazing apes, The Gorilla Family & Me, presented by wildlife camera-man Gordon Buchanan.    On Christmas Eve this year, BBC2 is showing both programmes back to back, starting at 3.45pm.   Afterwards, why not use the VR App to look behind the scenes of the making of the documentary?   You’ll join Gordon and the BBC film crew with the warden, rangers and trackers on the trail of siverback Chimanuka’s family – and if you don’t already adopt them through Born Free, why not give yourself and extra Christmas present by following the link at the end of the safari?

Perhaps the focus on families at Christmas is partly why Gordon Buchanan’s annual series on animal families are so popular… This year, the new series is Elephant Family & Me, in which Gordon gets to know some extraordinary elephants with heart-warming stories in Tsavo National Park, Kenya (Boxing Day, 8.30pm BBC2, concludes following day at 8pm).    Elephants, gorillas and other species need your support if they are to survive – and by taking you there virtually, Born Free and the team hope you will want to join our efforts to help them in 2017 and beyond.    Thank you, and have an Appy Christmas and a wild and wonderful New Year!


Ian Redmond

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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