Joe and Oliver make two unlikely Cinderellas. After having spent the first part of their lives in zoos, Joe and Oliver were whisked away from unhappy lives by their 'fairy godparents,' Jane and Steuart Dewar, to Gorilla Haven, a 324-acre spread in the North Georgia Mountains, just outside of Blue Ridge. Here they are given space to roam and loving care to help heal the emotional scars of their past.
Unable to peacefully co-exist with his fellow gorillas, Joe was relegated to solitary confinement in a concrete cell for 10-years. Born at the Bronx Zoo in 1988, Oliver, who was born deaf, was unable to communicate with his fellow gorillas and had to be separated from the others for his own safety. At Gorilla Haven, both have finally found a life of peace.
The Dewar's have underwritten the cost of building the facility on their own, to the tune of millions of dollars. The state-of-the-art compound -- the only privately-owned gorilla sanctuary approved by the national Association of Zoos and Aquariums -- has 15-foot high concrete walls and 10,000-volt electric fences to ensure that the gorillas don't leave the compound. Not that they'd want to.
Gorilla Haven is normally closed to the public, but the facility will open its doors on select dates in 2009 for fundraising tours. Tours will be limited to 25 people, and the donation will be $50 per person, with family-plans available.
Here is the nformation about the tour:
For more information, please visit www.Gorilla-Haven.org.