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UC Davis launches 'One Health' care for wild mountain gorillas and human neighbors
Date:4/23/2009

"We are honored to contribute the university's resources to this unique partnership aimed at saving the gorillas, their home, and ourselves."

About mountain gorillas

Except for four orphaned youngsters being prepared for release, there are no mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) living in captivity. (Gorillas commonly seen in zoos are Western lowland gorillas, Gorilla gorilla gorilla.) About 740 mountain gorillas remain in the wild, living in the Virunga Mountains where the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo intersect. Because of the popularity of tourism treks to see the gorillas, and constant monitoring of 75 percent of the population by rangers and researchers, each gorilla receives on average 2,000 to 3,000 human visitors each year.

Mountain gorillas are susceptible to the "childhood" diseases of people, as well as most other infections. But they are a wild population and thus not vaccinated. If there was an outbreak of measles or influenza in the local community of people living near a gorilla park, it could spread to the gorillas. Some other serious diseases do not have vaccines and cannot be immunized against even if it were feasible.

In addition to diseases, threats to gorilla populations are habitat loss and poaching.

The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP, Inc.) monitors the health of wild mountain gorillas, treats trauma and illness, researches significant issues in gorilla health and develops protocols and partnerships to support the One Health programs in the Virungas and environs. It works in close partnership with the governments of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other gorilla conversation organizations to achieve mutual goals, and its work is shared to strengthen wildlife conservation efforts around the world. The MGVP depends upon grants and donations to conduct its operations.

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Contact: Sylvia Wright
swright@ucdavis.edu
530-752-7704
University of California - Davis
Source:Eurekalert

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