For nearly 20 years, veterinarians have helped the rare mountain gorilla survive by providing life-saving veterinary care. These veterinarians treat serious injuries and illnesses, including those caused by people.
Gorilla Doctor Eddy cares for Ndeze with Andre, the main caregiver, July 2007
The project began with a single veterinarian and is now an independent, non-profit organization with eight veterinarians and a dozen support staff. Their patients include DR Congo’s Grauer’s gorillas, as well as the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. The Gorilla Doctors believe in a team-oriented approach to gorilla medicine. They track ailing gorillas and observe and treat them, if necessary, in their native habitat. Project staff also administer employee health programs for park rangers and guides, conduct clinical research, help screen domestic animals living near the parks for diseases, and treat other wildlife.
Kaboko, an orphan mountain gorilla, had to have his hand removed because it was infected and full of maggots. The Gorilla Doctors performed this operation and today Kaboko is a healthy gorilla.
Without the Gorilla Doctors, mountain gorillas might not exist today. Sadly, both mountain and Grauer’s gorillas face ongoing threats, including war, poaching, habitat destruction, and human disease. Neither sub-specie has a captive population in sanctuaries or zoos. Their future rests entirely in the protection and restoration of their ecosystem.
Magayne, from the Kwitonda family, with a snare caught on her left hand, August 2007. The Gorilla Doctors had to intervene.
Magayne, 3 weeks after the snare removal and doing well
If you would like to learn more about the work of the Gorilla Doctors please go to our website at www.mgvp.org.
The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project – the Gorilla Doctors – is a team of veterinarians whose mission is to improve the sustainability of mountain gorilla populations via health monitoring, lifesaving veterinary care, relevant health studies, and the dissemination of information.