Eagle County residents help gorilla guardian | VailDaily.com

Eagle County residents help gorilla guardian

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

AVON ” Local resident Tina Bump will present a slideshow at the Avon Public Library Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The presentation will focus on Bump’s multiple treks to visit the mountain gorillas in Karisoke, Rwanda. Duriing her travels, Bump met the Field Operations Coordinator for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, Jean Bosco Bizumuremyi (known as Bosco).

Thanks to donations from Eagle County residents, Bosco is having dental reconstruction in the U.S. to repair damage from an attack during the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s. Bosco has made the Karisoke Research Center his life’s work, often at great risk to himself. By the time he worked his way up to the position of field operations coordinator in 2000, he had saved many lives during Rwanda’s civil war, and was instrumental in making it possible for Karisoke to resume conservation and research after hostilities subsided.

Bump’s talk will also focus on Bosco’s situation, and what others can do to support the conservation of one of the world’s most threatened species.

Bump met Bosco when she visited Karisoke in January 2006. Prior to her trip, she had read the organization’s newsletter in which Bosco was profiled. She was moved to tears by the bravery and dedication Bosco had shown to protect the 360 remaining mountain gorillas in the Virunga Mountains, she said. When Bosco and Bump were introduced in 2006, she was dismayed to see that his front two teeth were still missing more than 10 years after the violent attack.

Upon her return to the U.S., Bump found a periodontist willing to fix Bosco’s teeth. She also raised more than $7,000 for the procedure. Bosco flew to California in February for the first of two trips to complete his reconstruction. The first operation and set of procedures was successful and Bosco will make his way back to Napa in late October to complete the treatment.

“How many of us here in the U.S. actually risk our lives for something we believe in?” Bump said. “It’s amazing to me the courage and dedication Bosco has shown in protecting the animals he loves so much. I’m so grateful for all the people who’ve contributed their time, talents and money to this effort.”

To learn more about endangered mountain gorillas, visit http://www.gorillafund.org, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International Web site.

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