There is still time to help the mountain gorillas. The London International Awards (LIA) Gorilla Doctors competition is still open for entries. This competition was started after Lara Logan, a CBS News Correspondent, told Barbara Levy, President of LIA, about the plight of the mountain gorillas.
“When I was introduced to Lara, I would never imagine that she would have such a huge impact on me that I would sponsor a competition to save a species. Actually, save two species - the gorillas and human beings - since they share the majority of their DNA. As an awards show, we feel that we can galvanize the most creative thinkers in the world to find a way to give Gorillas Doctors and the pivotal work they do greater visibility,” explained Barbara. “That’s why we immediately said yes to holding this competition.”
Lara Logan, did a 60 Minutes segment after visiting the Gorilla Doctors in Rwanda. She was so moved by their work that she wants to ensure that it will continue for years to come. Lara shares her story here:
“When Diane Fossey asked for a single doctor to come treat her gorillas, she understood that it would be impossible to keep the species alive without dedicated medical care. I can’t imagine she knew that more than 30 years later that one doctor would have turned into more than 15, and they would still be there every single day. Mike, Eddie, Noelli, Martin - too many to name them all. They are, each of them, survivors in some way - of genocide or poverty or civil war. And what they share is a formidable commitment...and heart. They are the best of us, what we hope we can become.
Gorillas share more than 98 percent of our DNA. They are just like us. And the Gorilla Doctors most often treat the type of respiratory infections and viruses that affect humans. But nothing can prepare you for the sight of these medical teams, with rangers and trackers and portable surgical equipment, doing more complex medical interventions on the floor of the forest or clinging to the side of a hill, or deep inside a swampy plain. Armed with machetes to cut away trees, they administer anesthetic, monitor vitals, cleanse, cut and stitch. They take DNA samples to share with the world, and do the type of ‘gorilla physical’ and preventative care many humans never get - while carrying everything they need on their backs, in formidable physical conditions. It’s a well-oiled machine, every part of it stunningly efficient, adaptive, professional and focused on the animal, the family, the gorilla group. No one on earth knows the gorillas better than they do. How fortunate for all of us.
When you meet the Gorilla Doctors, or visit their austere headquarters in Africa, you know without a doubt that the money you give is not wasted. The gorillas and the medical interventions and equipment are the focus of everything they do. The doctors don’t have much at all. But if you ask them, they’ll tell you they have everything they need. They measure good fortune in their ability to keep working for the gorillas. And for the people who live with them. It’s the only reward they seem to want.
The first time I saw Umoja, her baby was clinging to her body. This tiny, funny little face, peering curiously at the intruders into her world, holding onto her mother’s belly for dear life. The whole time we watched, that baby never let her go. From time to time, she would look over, stare, and then duck down fearfully behind her mother’s body, retreating to the safest place she knew, until she got bored and forgot we were there. Umoja should not have survived, let alone long enough to have her own child. Her insides were torn from her body as a baby - collateral damage from a fight between two adults that made me think of a child accidentally hit by a stray bullet on some inner city street back home in the US. That’s the thing about these animals - they are so much like us, they almost seem human. It’s what separates them from other creatures in the wild. You can’t help but ask yourself the question, ‘If we let this species go, what follows them?’ The Gorilla Doctors measure their success in Umoja and her baby - a family that would not exist had they not saved Umoja’s life when she was as small as her baby. That is their legacy - their gift to the world - families that span generations.”
There is no fee to enter the Gorilla Doctors competition. All entries must be submitted by August 15th, 2018.
The Prize: The winning individual or team will win an Eco-tour donated by Terra Incognito Ecotours
for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to visit Rwanda, home to the critically endangered Mountain Gorillas. In addition, the team will be invited to participate at LIA 2019 in Las Vegas. The prize will be awarded to a maximum of two people.
All entries received will be judged on site during the London International Awards judging and Creative LIAisons program in Las Vegas on October 6th.
Mike Cranfield, Gorilla Doctors
Lara Logan, 60 Minutes Correspondent
Jeremy Craigen, Global Chief Creative Officer of INNOCEAN Worldwide
Anna Fawcett, Executive Producer of Filmgraphics Entertainment, Sydney
Bob Isherwood, Advertising Legend
Mark Tutssel, Executive Chairman / Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett Worldwide
Marcia Goddard, Chief Creative Officer of McCann Health
To learn more about Gorilla Doctors and their global campaign to identify the emergence of new infectious diseases in wildlife that could pose a major threat to human health visit: http://www.gorilladoctors.org/