Rare Species Fund Aids Scientists in Mountain Gorilla Conservation in Uganda
Christmas came early this year for the scientists of the Gorilla Research Clinic (run by Conservation Through Public Health, CTPH) in Buhoma, Uganda.
The Rare Species Fund received their wish list and set to work helping to make it a better holiday season for the gorillas and some local inhabitants of south-western Uganda. Instead of using a sleigh to deliver a sack full of toys, the RSF arrived at the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in a Land Rover carrying cases full of scientific equipment. Included in this delivery were more than 3000 test tubes for samples, a vortex mixer with attachments, pipettes, centrifuge adapters, 3 digital cameras, a laptop computer, microscope light bulbs and even a case of crypto-giardia tests that required refrigeration all the way from South Carolina to the jungles of Uganda. This donation is considered quite significant as these materials are all but impossible to come by in such a remote location.
Conservation Through Public Health addresses one of the primary conservation issues surrounding some of the last mountain gorillas by monitoring gorilla, human and livestock health. Mountain gorillas are highly endangered; approximately 800 currently exist. These gorillas are highly protected by local authorities, but one of their biggest threats lies in their similarity to humans and their susceptibility to many of the same diseases. This is of particular concern in Uganda where more than a third of the population is living on less than $1.50 per day. CTPH not only monitors gorilla health, their extensive community outreach programs educate local villagers about proper hygiene, livestock management and disease prevention, helping to address the problem at the source.