The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project was established in 1986 by the Morris Animal Foundation at the request of primatologist Dian Fossey, who saw that the population was dwindling rapidly, in part due to sickness and injuries caused by poachers. The Morris foundation managed and funded the gorilla project for its first 20 years and has provided financial support since it became a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2005.
Combined with anti-poaching patrols and habitat-protection efforts of the Rwandan, Ugandan and Congolese governments and other organizations, the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project's medical program has helped increase the number of mountain gorillas by 17 percent in the past 10 years, making the mountain gorilla the only wild great ape whose numbers are rising, not falling.
"Over the years, several faculty members here at UC Davis have been integral to the conservation of mountain gorillas, so it feels very fitting that UC Davis form this partnership with the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project - we couldn't be more thrilled to further UC Davis' legacy contributions to the conservation of this very special animal," said Bennie Osburn, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine.
Mountain gorillas remain extremely vulnerable: They live in fragments of habitat surrounded by the densest human populations in Africa, Their forests are sometimes in war zones, and are cut down for production of charcoal. And they fall victim to snares set by poachers for gorillas or other "bush-meat" animals, such as small antelope and monkeys.
Furthermore, because gorillas and humans are so closely related
genetically, gorilla health is strongly influenced by the health of
people working and living nearby, and even by ecotourists, who come
within 20 feet of gorilla
|Contact: Sylvia Wright|
University of California - Davis