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Environment

Ellen DeGeneres’ Birthday Present Is a Gorilla Conservation Fund

Even though Ellen DeGeneres’ birthday week is coming to an end, the impact of her 60th birthday will be felt for years to come.

That’s because her wife Portia de Rossi went on the Ellen DeGeneres Show to announce that a fund and campus had been set up in the host’s name at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

"It's your sixtieth birthday," said de Rossi on the show, "and this gift had to be really special, and it had to represent who you are and what you really care about."

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The fund will permanently support wild gorillas in Rwanda by improving habitats and promoting community support of ecosystems.

It will also create a conservation campus where students and teachers can study, research, and promote the health of gorillas, according to the website.

The conservationist Dian Fossey worked in Rwanda from 1967 through her death in 1985 to improve the health of local gorilla populations. The Gorilla Fund continues to support her work and has helped to double the local gorilla population.

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The biggest threats facing mountain gorillas are a shrinking habitat, poaching and accidental snaring, and human-transmitted diseases, according to the fund.

DeGeneres, for her part, has a long history of supporting animal conservation causes. Over the years, she’s donated to PETA, Farm Sanctuary, and Best Friends Animal Society, according to the celebrity charity watchdog Look to the Stars.

"It's good to be loved it's profound to be understood," said DeGeneres of the gift, "and she understands me because that is the best gift that anybody could have given me."

Read More: Meet the Female Rangers Fighting to Save DRC's Last Mountain Gorillas

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