Welcome to Gorilla Doctors an organization in Bwindi Forest National Park, Volcanoes National Park and Virunga National Park that is offering the medical services to the mountain gorillas in the Bwindi and Virunga Massifs.
While critically endangered with only 1000 mountain gorillas left in the world today, they are the only great ape species whose numbers in the wild are actually growing! So, there is hope for these incredible animals. In fact, the work of the Gorilla Doctors may be responsible for up to 40% of this growth.
Founded in 1986 at the request of the late gorilla researcher Dian Fossey, the Gorilla Doctors are dedicated to conserving wild mountain and eastern lowland (or Grauer’s) gorillas through life-saving veterinary medicine.
Gorillas share 98.5% of their DNA with humans; their greatest health threat may come from human-borne infectious diseases. With only 880 mountain gorillas left in the world today, it is critical to ensure the well being of every individual gorilla. Gorilla Doctors treat wild human-habituated gorillas suffering from life-threatening injury and illness; aids in the rescue and treatment of orphaned gorillas; conducts gorilla disease research and facilitates preventative healthcare for the people who work in the national parks and come into close contact with the gorillas.
They operate in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and carry out routine checks once a month, regularly monitoring the health of wild, human-habituated gorillas and intervening to treat sick or injured animals when necessary.
Since so many human communities live around the national parks, the pressure for food is enormous and some people turn to poaching to survive. Unfortunately, gorillas especially infants and juveniles, can get caught in poachers’ snares where they may lose limbs or die as a result of infection or strangulation.
The Gorilla Doctors usually intervene by sending in a team of veterinarians, national park staff members, trackers and porters to find the ensnared gorilla and rescue it. It is reassuring to know that the gorillas have a fighting chance for survival if they continue to work to address conservation challenges. Anyone especially interested in the conservation of the great apes can organize an educational seminar and tour of the research facility with the Gorilla Doctors at their office in Musanze during one of their safaris.