Going gorilla trekking is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. You spend hours navigating through dense forest in places like Rwanda to find the endangered primates. And now that experience is coming to your home. To celebrate Earth Day while social distancing this year, Visit Rwanda partnered with The Ellen Fund, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, and Habitat HR to release a virtual reality film called Gorillas.
During the five-minute VR viewing, you will go on a gorilla trek to find the endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda. You'll come across things like a mom carrying a baby on her back, a family of gorillas strolling past, and a curious one beating its chest. Ultimately, you end up face-to-face with the incredible creatures in their natural habitat.
"Encountering a gorilla in the wild of Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park is simply magical,” said Belise Kariza, Chief Tourism Officer, Rwanda Development Board. “Aside from being in absolute awe of these gentle giants, the experience gives you an almost transcendent awareness of the importance of protecting and conserving not only mountain gorillas, but all wildlife. It was in this spirit that we joined with The Ellen Fund, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and other hard working partners to create this immersive cinematic virtual reality experience and share it on Earth Day, a time for global conservation awareness."
Founded by Portia de Rossi as a gift for DeGeneres, The Ellen Fund supports conservation efforts for endangered species and was part of the creation of the VR experience. The foundation's immediate focus is to secure a future for wild gorillas by building the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, a permanent home in Rwanda. The Fossey Fund's Ellen DeGeneres Campus will be the central hub for the organization's programs that work to save gorillas and their habitats, train the next generation of conservationists, and improve the lives of local communities.
The VR film is free and can be viewed on partner platforms such as Oculus, Within, Samsung VR, Littlstar, and VeeR. A snapshot of the film can also be viewed without a VR headset at TheEllenFund.org/getvr. And, aside from the new VR film release, The Ellen Fund is also putting out a video content series called Gorilla Game Changers that profile individuals who have dedicated their lives to gorilla conservation.