In January of 2022, we proudly announced that the Board of Directors of the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy had approved a commitment of $250,000 over ten years to support gorilla conservation and survival in the wild. Funds will be provided to the Toronto Zoo to directly support in situ conservation organizations, including sanctuaries for orphaned animals, conducting programs and projects that raise awareness of the impacts of poaching and trafficking and support habitat restoration.

This announcement was made to coincide with the 50th birthday celebration for Charles, the Toronto Zoo’s iconic silverback gorilla. Charles is one of the oldest gorillas living in Zoos in North America and this milestone birthday is a testament to the level of care provided to Charles over the course of his lifetime at the Toronto Zoo.

Unfortunately, his wild counterparts continue to face a number of obstacles; threatening their survival. The average lifespan of a critically endangered, Western lowland gorilla living in the wild is approximately 35-years. Gorilla populations continue to decline at an alarming rate of 2.7%, mostly due to poaching for bushmeat disease, habitat loss and degradation.

Our vision is a world where wildlife and wild spaces thrive and we are committed to meaningful actions to support wildlife conservation. Each year, AZA-accredited zoos contribute more than $5.5 million to gorilla conservation, and we are proud to do our part for a brighter future for these incredible animals.