GRACE Gorillas

A nonprofit organization

93% complete

$105,000 Goal


GRACE is the world’s only sanctuary for rescued Grauer’s gorillas, a Critically Endangered subspecies found in war-torn eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).

Our Congolese-run sanctuary provides rehabilitative care for gorillas orphaned by poaching, nursing infants back to health and giving them the chance to be with other gorillas again. The 14 gorillas at GRACE all arrived as orphans – but together they form a tight-knit surrogate family much like those found in the wild.

The ultimate goal at GRACE is to reintroduce rescued Grauer’s gorillas into the wild. GRACE is breaking new ground by planning the first reintroduction for this subspecies.

Outside of the sanctuary, GRACE works hand-in-hand with local Congolese communities on conservation education, forest protection, and sustainable livelihoods to protect wild gorillas and their forest homes.

Your gift will help us provide excellent care for the orphaned gorillas at GRACE and protect wild gorillas and their habitat. 

Your gift will also help us build an education shield to protect gorillas in DR Congo…a shield of community empathy, knowledge and understanding for the unique and special place on our planet. We believe in a future for gorillas built on community – and wherever you are, that community includes you.

Orphaned Gorillas Find a Surrogate Family

Orphaned gorillas arriving at GRACE are often traumatized, malnourished and in poor health. GRACE provides emergency medical care and a safe haven for them to heal and reconnect with other gorillas. After an initial quarantine period – with human caregivers watching over the infant 24/7 – orphans are introduced to the GRACE surrogate gorilla family. 

This is when the real healing and rehabilitation begins. 

Pinga & Lulingu: the Mother-Infant Bond

Lulingu was just 1 ½ years old when she arrived at GRACE, after being rescued from poachers seeking to sell her illegally. Despite the trauma of losing her family, Lulingu proved resilient – on her first day in the GRACE forest, she immediately climbed a tree to eat Myrianthus fruits, a gorilla favorite she likely had not eaten since being captured in the wild. 

When Lulingu was introduced to the other gorillas, adult female Pinga quickly scooped her up to hold her in a protective posture. When nightfall came, Pinga made a nest and Lulingu slept with her all night long. Since that day, Pinga has been a diligent and caring surrogate mother to Lulingu, who is growing into a healthy, confident young gorilla.

Saving a Species, Caring for the Individual

GRACE is a sanctuary, and more. We work hand-in-hand with Congolese communities to protect wild gorillas and their habitats – with gorilla monitoring in nearby Tayna Nature Reserve, tree planting, alternative fuel and protein source projects, education programs, and more. We know that conservation of a species is only possible when we all work together, and that to protect gorillas we must promote the health and well-being of people too. 

At the same time, GRACE never loses sight of the needs of each individual gorilla in our care.

Tea for Muyisa

This year, GRACE coordinated delivery of 8 boxes of chamomile tea from a diplomat’s suitcase in Scotland, aboard a plane in Kinshasa, DR Congo, and finally arriving in Kasugho, the tiny village closest to GRACE where chamomile tea is not commonly found. The lucky recipient? Adult female Grauer’s gorilla Muyisa. 

During the first 3 years after Muyisa’s rescue, it was impossible for her to be transported to GRACE due to insecurity. Well cared for but isolated from other gorillas, and having lost her family to poaching, Muyisa developed a self-soothing habit of plucking her hair.

The plucking habit is not a welfare concern beyond hair loss – Muyisa is a very sociable and much-loved member of the GRACE family group. But we work hard to care for every individual gorilla’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. GRACE veterinary advisors knew of anecdotal evidence of chamomile tea helping with plucking behavior in another gorilla. 

While it’s not possible to say for sure that the tea is the cause, Muyisa’s skin does appear to have improved since the tea arrived!

Help support the GRACE gorillas and our gorilla conservation efforts by making a donation toward our Giving Day for Apes goal. 


Organization Data


Organization name

GRACE Gorillas

other names

Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) Center, Inc.

Tax id (EIN)



Education Environment Animals


PO Box 504
Niwot, CO 80544

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