Comedienne Ellen DeGeneres has come face to face with the endangered gorillas she’s hoping to save at her new Rwandan research facility.
The Finding Dory star’s wife Portia de Rossi gifted her the launch of a new gorilla sanctuary and wildlife fund in her name as a 60th birthday present earlier this year, and now the pair has jetted off to Africa to take a look at the place.
In a series of videos and photos posted on her Instagram page, a thrilled Ellen documented her first meeting with a mountain gorilla in his natural habitat.
“I can’t begin to describe what this experience was like, or how much it means to me. I’m so grateful,” Ellen wrote alongside the video of the gorilla emerging from the jungle.
Ellen also shared a shot of herself posing with gorillas in the background, adding the caption: “We found them.”
DeGeneres and de Rossi will be funding the construction of a permanent research facility for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda. The new center will be called the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
Fossey was a childhood heroine for Ellen.
“Ellen’s always been a huge admirer of Dian Fossey and her work with the gorillas,” Portia said when she surprised Ellen with the birthday gift on her daytime talk show. “Ellen shares Dian’s dedication to animals and the bravery in how Dian lived her life.”
Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund CEO, Dr. Tara Stoinski, joined Ellen and Portia on their hike to see the Agasha gorillas.
Meanwhile, the comedienne’s pals Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary recently teamed up with the bosses at online cyberbanking firm Ripple to swell Ellen’s new fund by $4 million.