Mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) are one of the most endangered mammals in the world. Threatened by habitat loss and destruction, poaching, war and disease. The world’s remaining mountain gorillas live on high-altitude volcanoes in just two protected areas spanning the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, encompassed by some of the most densely populated areas in Africa.
Many years ago, Dian Fossey went to Africa to monitor the last remaining 250 gorillas in the wild. Dian soon changed her focus to conservation. 25 years later, the recent census of the mountain gorilla population in the Virunga Massif National Park(s) has indicated the numbers have increased to 1063. The result of the commitment and efforts of wildlife veterinarians, local rangers, park authorities, governments, and many other organizations.
Today, gorilla trekking accounts for 90% of tourism revenue in Rwanda. Tourism generates $400 million which creates jobs, infrastructure like building schools, better roads and ultimately benefiting the very poor and underserved communities that surround the national parks and beyond. Gorillas are the key to a healthy economy in the regions where they live.
Tourism is also a great risk to all gorillas because of the transmission of disease cause by humans. Gorillas share 98.5% the same DNA as humans. Which makes gorillas very susceptible to catching the same diseases. Their immune systems are not developed to fight off these diseases, which could lead to a rapid decline in their population.
Our objective is to provide more wildlife veterinarians in the field, to conduct disease surveillance and help manage wildlife within the national parks where gorillas live. These are known as Gorilla Doctors. Historically veterinarians have been trained to conduct livestock medicine which has led to a serious lack of wildlife veterinarians. Research has demonstrated that more than 75% of emerging infectious zoonotic diseases are from wildlife and recognition of wildlife as reservoirs are increasing. Moreover, the DRC was the first country where the Ebola disease outbreak occurred in 1975, decimated 95% of the wild gorilla population in Lossi between 2003 - 2004, and is currently experiencing Ebola in many regions today.
The One-Health Approach recognises the health of people, wildlife, livestock, domestic animals and the environment are all connected. The One Health Approach is championed by the World Health Organization, Canadian Public Health Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and more organizations.
We are looking for your support in providing 3 candidates with the required funds to attend the master’s degree program in Wildlife Health and Management.
The Makerere University Master’s Program in Wildlife Health and Management provides the knowledge and tools in medicine, conservation, wildlife management and leadership to improve the welfare of wildlife and people.
100% of your generous donation will go to advance education by providing scholarships and other forms of financial assistance to students pursuing a university education in veterinary medicine in Uganda, Rwanda and /or the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
No amount is too small, and we cannot do it without you.
Your gift matters.