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University Launches Program to Save Mountain Gorillas

University Launches Program to Save Mountain Gorillas

The University of California, Davis has just launched a program called “One Health” to conserve the world’s 740 mountain gorillas in central Africa.

One Health joins forces with the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project to conserve the gorillas by focusing on the gorillas’ health as well as issues of the communities in the surrounding areas — namely, human health, livestock health and the agricultural industry.

Kristen Gilardi, leader of the program, explains, “The concept of ‘One Health’ — that human, animal and environmental health are inextricably linked and should be considered holistically — is a core principle of the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center.”

Disease is the number one killer of mountain gorillas, so the program will focus on improving medical care for them. In addition, it will work on nutrition and health programs for the surrounding human communities, and help improve the health of livestock, a main source of income for the communities’ residents. The gorillas and citizens live so close together that the health of one group impacts the other.

Mountain gorillas are not held in captivity, but they are an important boost to the economies of various nations because of ecotourism. Approximately 2000 to 3000 tourists visit annually. While tourists consume resources, the gorillas’ economic value provides an incentive to governments to invest in their survival.

The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project has had remarkable success in the past. It has worked with the Rwandan, Ugandan and Congolese governments to take action against poaching and to conserve the gorillas’ habitat. Over the past ten years, the mountain gorilla population has increased by 17 percent, making it the only wild ape to have its numbers rise. With One Health on board, those numbers will hopefully increase even more.

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21 comments

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9:27AM PDT on May 1, 2009

Thank Heaven! It's about time we helped instead of flagrantly thinking that the world revolves around humans.

8:27PM PDT on Apr 29, 2009

Hope.

4:12PM PDT on Apr 27, 2009

I love animals and it really upsets me to know that human kind is responsible of mistreating them! Having a place that protects these beautiful and intelligent animals gives me a sense of relief and hope!

5:26PM PDT on Apr 25, 2009

I love all the animals of our world. It is so nice to read something positive for a change. I love gorillas and their numbers have fallen so drastically, something needs to be done to reverse this. This program called 'One Health' sounds like a fantastic idea, and if it promotes the survival of these gorillas and saves them from extinction even better.
I have read nothing but cruelty to animals this morning. It is nice to read something that can HELP our beautiful wild animals.
From one who cares deeply.
SALLY D.

2:49PM PDT on Apr 25, 2009

They have to do something because they keep claiming that they are the same as we are and if they die off we wouldn't far behind.
They have a right to live just as we do and that is a fact so please try to save these wonderful animals TODAY!!!

11:01AM PDT on Apr 25, 2009

UC Davis needs to redeem itself for all it's animal testing...let's hope this is truly their aim...to save the gorillas...and not to use them.
I only hope they can be saved in their home.

5:55AM PDT on Apr 25, 2009

Great project, but let's be realistic. Keeping endangered wildife in their original habitats in wartorn parts of the Third World is a lame duck. The remaining gorillas, unless we do something drastic, will finish up as bushmeat in a few years. Want to bet?

I would suggest raise a few million dollars, and pay off some corrupt African leaders and ship the gorillas out to a special reserve in the developed world or where the developed world has a manageable relationship with the local inhabitants. They don't eat primates in Costa Rica so build them a big park there.

Scientists are always fussing about keeping wildlife in their correct habitats. From a strictly scientific point of view, this is true. However, it is mossing the point.

From the average person's point of view, the gorilla's CULTURAL importance to us is far greater than any scientific one. Frankly, some bugs and microbes are more significant to scientists than gorillas or lions, but culturally the reverse is true.

We should stop listening to scientists and listen to ourselves. Then we'll get things in perspective and start doing something that will save the gorillas.

Full credit to the University of California project, don't get me wrong, but if just keep following scientists we'll lose them all.

1:51PM PDT on Apr 24, 2009

I am so happy there are people who care and have the courage to speak up for the mountain gorillsa.

11:28AM PDT on Apr 24, 2009

Thank to those of you who do so much fro the welware of animals. Great news regarding the saving of the gorillas.
Christina

10:59AM PDT on Apr 24, 2009

Hope this goes well and they do something good, and get beyound their aim. Animal always suffer, they never deserve it, but it happens, what a cruel world we live in. but with programmes like this, we can help a little. wish there were more that cared and less that destroyed.

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