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Dr. Stoinski will present “How Saving Gorillas Helps Save the World”

ATLANTA – February 20, 2024 – Zoo Atlanta is honored to host Tara Stoinski, PhD, President and CEO and Chief Scientific Officer for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, as the speaker at the upcoming Geoffrey Bourne Lecture on Thursday, February 29, 2024. Dr. Stoinski will present How Saving Gorillas Helps Save the World.

A primatologist who has studied gorilla behavior for nearly 30 years, Dr. Stoinski formerly helmed the primate behavior research division at Zoo Atlanta and has long experience studying the behavior of gorillas both in the wild and at the Zoo. In presenting How Saving Gorillas Helps Save the World, she will shed light on the role of gorillas as gardeners of some of the most biodiversity-rich and carbon-storing forests remaining on the planet. Through holistic conservation actions that combine boots-on-the-ground protection and science with people-centered solutions, the work of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund provides a roadmap for the ways saving gorillas can also address some of the planet’s most pressing environmental and social challenges.

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has been Zoo Atlanta’s primary longtime partner in gorilla conservation for more than 25 years. By providing the organization, which has its headquarters at Zoo Atlanta, with pro-bono space and resources, Zoo Atlanta proudly supports their work for gorillas and human communities in Africa.

“The Geoffrey Bourne Lecture has a legacy of offering scientific insights on wildlife, conservation, and human interest for the benefit of our Members, guests, and community,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO of Zoo Atlanta. “We are especially delighted to host Dr. Stoinski as she shares more about the great work of our longtime partner in the conservation of gorillas, as well as the role wild gorillas play in the vital and fragile ecosystem they call home.”

The Geoffrey Bourne Lecture Series is a scholarly series that brings esteemed scientists, educators, and conservationists to Atlanta. The Geoffrey Bourne Fund, which endows the lecture series, was established in 1999 to honor the late Dr. Bourne, the founding President of the Atlanta Zoological Society (AZS). The AZS was formed in 1970 to provide support for what was then known as the Atlanta Zoo. Dr. Bourne, who was at the time affiliated with Emory University’s Yerkes Primate Center, brought not only a love of the Zoo to his new role, but also a professional and scientific background which was instrumental in shaping the Zoo’s future mission. Under his leadership, the AZS implemented changes at the Zoo and worked to recruit other Atlantans to the cause while working to focus the Zoo’s mission on education and conservation.

The Geoffrey Bourne Lecture will take place at 7 p.m. in the Michael & Thalia Carlos Ballroom in Savanna Hall. This opportunity is free and open to the public, but registration is required. RSVP is requested by February 26. Register online and learn more about the event and Dr. Stoinski here at


Rachel Davis
Director of Communications

Gavin Johnson
Public Relations and Communications Specialist

About Zoo Atlanta
A proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for animal care and welfare, Zoo Atlanta has a mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education, and engaging experiences. The Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them endangered or critically endangered. Highlights include giant pandas.; one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Recent transformations include the African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, warthogs, meerkats, and rhinos; Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination in the restored historic former home of the Atlanta Cyclorama; and the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation Plaza. For more information, visit

About the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund
Founded in 1967, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is the world’s longest-running and largest organization dedicated to gorilla conservation. The Fossey Fund has more than 300 staff in Rwanda and eastern DR Congo, protecting vulnerable gorilla populations and some of the world’s richest biodiversity. The organization’s integrated approach to conservation involves supporting the livelihoods and food security of local communities and building capacity of African conservationists. For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @savinggorillas.

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