Gorilla Doctors

The international team of veterinarians known as the Gorilla Doctors have a base in Ruhengeri (Musanze), Rwanda from which they operate. They regularly monitor the habituated mountain gorilla groups in all three countries – Rwanda, Uganda and DR Congo and respond to emergency calls for help for ill, injured or snared gorillas.

Each of the three countries has ‘in-country’ Gorilla Doctors. In DR Congo, vets Dr. Eddy and Dr. Martin are on call in Virunga and nearby Kahuzi-Biega National Park (eastern lowland gorillas) and provide ongoing care for the orphans at the Senkwekwe Centre.

G4G assists the Gorilla Doctors with equipment whenever possible. On two occasions, G4G has provided sets of rain gear / ponchos for the orphan gorilla carers and those who go into the forests to collect fresh food for them.

‘Enrichment toys’ (very robust balls and kongs) have been donated and taken out for the orphan gorillas to help keep their inquisitive minds active.

Two i-Stat machines were provided for the vets. These are portable clinical analysers which help to make diagnoses of gorilla illness in the field easily and quickly, rather than have to take samples back to the lab.

G4G was also very pleased to provide funds for a ‘Coolscope’.

Dr Mike Cranfield, who heads up the Gorilla Doctors sent this photo and said:

“It is thrilling that this unit will allow long distance histopathology to be done on samples without waiting for permits to take the samples out of the country. Basically we get the tissues “trimmed in” in the country of origin and then a gorilla doctor gets on Skype to the pathologist and put the slide into the unit. Through the internet the pathologist can move the slide change magnification and “read” the slide for pathology. It will also work with a screen in-house for teaching in the lab.
It is an exciting breakthrough for Gorilla Doctors and we owe it all to G4G. I would like to personally thank the organisation for its support of the effort to save the mountain gorillas.”

G4G will continue assisting the Gorilla Doctors. Trustees are currently looking to provide further help for Dr Eddy in DR Congo. He says the gorilla caregivers at the Senkwekwe Centre need a new fridge freezer for food and samples and they need further sets of rain gear.

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