GorillaGram: Using Instagram to Protect Mountain Gorillas


In the heart of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, amidst the lush greenery and mist-covered peaks, resides a community of gentle giants—the mountain gorillas. These majestic creatures, with their soulful eyes and powerful presence, captivate the hearts of all who encounter them. Yet, their existence teeters on the brink of extinction, threatened by poaching, habitat loss, and human encroachment.

Enter Gorilla Gram, a pioneering initiative born out of the collaboration between Visit Rwanda and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB). Launched in September 2022, Gorilla Gram harnesses the power of social media, particularly Instagram, to rally support for the conservation of Rwanda’s mountain gorillas.

At its essence, Gorilla Gram serves as a channel for conservation and awareness. It invites visitors to become active participants in the protection of these endangered creatures by sharing their experiences on Instagram. With a simple click of their smartphone cameras, visitors capture moments of awe and wonder as they trek through the dense forests of Volcanoes National Park, coming face to face with gorilla families in their natural habitat.

But Gorilla Gram goes beyond mere photo-sharing. It empowers visitors to make a tangible impact through the use of designated tags on their Instagram posts. These tags, carefully curated by Gorilla Gram, serve as digital breadcrumbs, guiding rangers, researchers, and monitoring teams to track the movements and behaviors of gorilla families and individual gorillas. Through sophisticated aggregation systems, the posted photos are organized into smart galleries, providing valuable insights into the lives of these gentle giants.

For followers and visitors alike, Gorilla Gram offers a window into the world of gorilla conservation. In real time, they can engage with rangers and researchers, learning about the challenges facing these endangered species and the efforts being made to ensure their survival. By actively participating in the conversation, followers become stewards of conservation, spreading awareness and garnering support for the protection of Rwanda’s 12 habituated gorilla families.

Rwanda, renowned as one of the premier destinations for gorilla trekking, holds a special place in the hearts of wildlife enthusiasts. The Rwanda Volcanoes are home to nearly a third of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas, making it a critical stronghold for their conservation. Gorilla Gram serves as a beacon of hope for these magnificent creatures, offering a lifeline in the face of mounting threats.

The story of the mountain gorillas is one of resilience and triumph against the odds. In the 1970s, their population dwindled to a mere 200 individuals, pushing them to the brink of extinction. Today, thanks to concerted conservation efforts, their numbers have rebounded to over 1,060 individuals. Yet, the journey is far from over.

As guardians of the forest, it falls upon us to ensure the continued survival of these remarkable creatures. Gorilla Gram reminds us that each photo shared, each tag added, is a step towards a brighter future for Rwanda’s mountain gorillas. Through collective action and unwavering dedication, we can safeguard their habitat, preserve their legacy, and ensure that generations to come will marvel at their beauty and grace.