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UC Davis launches 'One Health' care for wild mountain gorillas and human neighbors

The University of California, Davis, today launched a new "One Health" program to conserve the world's remaining 740 mountain gorillas by caring for not only the gorillas but also the people and the other animals that share their home in the forests of central Africa.

With $750,000 in funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, UC Davis will establish the Mountain Gorilla One Health Program in the School of Veterinary Medicine's Wildlife Health Center.

The new program will partner with the existing Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, begun in 1986, to continue improving gorilla health and survival by addressing human health, livestock health and agricultural issues.

"The concept of 'One Health' - that human, animal and environmental health are inextricably linked and should be considered holistically - is a core principle of the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center," said wildlife veterinarian and center assistant director Kirsten Gilardi, who will lead the Mountain Gorilla One Health Program.

"We are proud to become partners with the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, one of the few true, on-the-ground examples of One Health in action anywhere in the world."

The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project's longtime director, veterinarian Michael Cranfield, will join the UC Davis staff while continuing to oversee the work of the project's seven veterinarians and 12 technicians and staff members in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"The collaboration with UC Davis will help improve the health and welfare of the humans and animals living around the gorillas," Cranfield said. "This in turn acts as a buffer to help prevent disease - the gorillas' leading cause of death - from entering the park and affecting gorilla families."

UC Davis will investigate disease threats facing mountain gorillas, help expand medical care for the humans working in and around

Contact: Sylvia Wright
University of California - Davis

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