SEATTLE – Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is giving $1 million to the Jane Goodall Institute to study and protect gorillas in Africa, and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation says wildlife conservation projects in Africa will be a major initiative.
The Goodall grant will help researchers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo survey a gorilla subspecies that might be on the verge of extinction. Ocean science will be another priority area in the future, foundation science officer Kathy Richmond told the Seattle Times.
Allen became enchanted with Africa through his travels there.
“It’s one of the most special places in the world for him,” Richmond said.
Possibly fewer than 5,000 of the Grauer’s gorilla survive today in the eastern part of the Congo, where the primates have been threatened by poaching and illegal mining.
The grant also will fund gorilla sanctuaries and help equip rangers with GPS phones and tablets so they can record gorilla sightings and illegal mines.
Since 1990, the Allen Foundation has given away $454 million, mostly in the Pacific Northwest. That regional emphasis won’t change, said media relations manager Christina Siderius.
Separate from his foundation, Allen gave $400 million to found the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. He gave $26 million to Washington State University for a center to study animal health and diseases that spread from animals to humans.
Allen also owns the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers.