In a special episode of her television show, American television superstar Ellen DeGeneres has just celebrated her 60th birthday and was moved to tears by a special gift from her wife, Portia de Rossi. The meaningful present is establishment of The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda.
“It’s your 60th birthday and this gift had to be really special and it had to represent who you are and what you really care about,” Portia explained. “Not just now, but what you’ve always cared about. What you were influenced by and what has made you the amazing person that you are today. So, I combined that and questions when we first met like who’s your idol? And what would you do if you weren’t a talk show host?”
She then told DeGeneres: “So, I combined that with the fact that literally guys, for like the last two years, Ellen has said to me I feel like I’m not doing enough. Every day, almost. So, I put all that together and I got you this gift. So, let’s see it – happy birthday!”
A video then played in which Portia talks about Ellen’s hero, Dian Fossey, and her dedication to animals.
“So, for your birthday, Ellen, I am bringing you and your hero, Dian, together by building The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund,” Porita continued. “Ellen, you will carry on Dian’s legacy by giving them a permanent home in Rwanda. Now, you will join Dian as a protector and champion of these amazing animals, the mountain gorillas. Happy birthday!”
But that’s not all! Portia then said, “I have also set up a foundation in your name called The Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund. So, this is the first initiative for the fund that you can take this and do whatever you want with it. You’ve done amazing work for elephants and you can just continue and support whatever you want to do.”
Ellen Degeneres’ hero has long been Dian Fossey, the famous Mountain gorilla researcher and pioneer conservationist who worked in the Virunga mountains until her tragic murder in 1985.
The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund will be a permanent facility for scientists, who are helping to save one of the world’s most at-risk species. Just 880 gorillas remain in the mist-shrouded mountains of Rwanda and the neighbouring countries of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
In a press release the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund explains: “The campus will allow the to expand science, research and conservation activities; enhance educational programs; and engage people from Rwanda and the world to join the effort on behalf of wild gorillas. Its design will include laboratories, classrooms, meeting space, an interactive exhibit focusing on Fossey’s work, and housing for visiting researchers and students.”
You can learn more about The Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund HERE.