The Projet Gorille Fernan-Vaz (PGFV) began with the vision that conservation could sustainably be funded through responsible ecotourism. However, its primary goal was to improve the quality of life of 4 western lowland gorillas then living in a research facility at the Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville (CIRMF) in Gabon. In 2001, after almost 20 years of life in captivity, these orphaned gorillas were transferred from the CIRMF onto Evengue-Ezango Island in the Fernan-Vaz lagoon.
Though the initial goal was to transfer these gorillas onto an island where they could roam completely free, it soon became apparent that their previous life in captivity did not allow for their full release onto Evengue-Ezango Island. A forested enclosure, now known as the Sanctuary, was therefore built for them to live safely within a natural refuge. You can read more about our sanctuary gorillas here.
The Rehabilitation Centre was initiated on Evengue-Ezango Island in late 2006 with the goal of maintaining the reintroduction potential of young legally confiscated orphaned gorillas who are victims of the bushmeat trade. This group of 6 young gorillas was transferred onto Oriquet Island in July 2009 and two more have since been integrated Learn more about our rehabilitation center.
The PGFV is now a registered Gabonese association and is funded by the Société de Conservation et Développement (SCD) & Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project Foundation, a registered charitable foundation based in Arnhem, Holland.