CTPH‘s public health team in conjunction with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) launched a pilot Employee Health Program for UWA staff who work directly or indirectly with the critically endangered mountain gorillas. The program looks at protecting the staff from any occupational hazards that come with taking care of these critically endangered mountain gorillas.
CTPH's Community Health Coordinator Mr. Joseph Byonanebye together with Bwindi Community Hospital's Dr. Julius Nkalubo addressing some of the UWA park staff prior to commencement of medical examination
The program will ensure that the staff are healthier and this will translate into healthier mountain gorillas with a predictably longer life span.
UWA rangers were recently trained on digital photography so that they may be able to capture rare events in the lives of the endangered mountain gorillas at a workshop facilitated by CTPH at CTPH’s Gorilla Conservation Camp.
One of the photos taken and edited by UWA rangers during the training
Last week, CTPH trained about 30 Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) in and around Bwindi Impentrable National Park. Many of the communities around the park have no veterinary officer or veterinary drug shop. Many of the farmers cannot afford the cost of the district veterinary officer travelling from district headquarters, a journey of 2 hours. With growing human populations interacting with livestock and wildlife, infectious disease is a very real threat in these communities. CTPH trains Community Animal Health Workers to bridge this gap, offering basic animal health services to their communities and referring harder cases to the district veterinary offices.
He wandered onto the family’s farm about 2 years ago. Now as a mature adult, he is a threat to the family with his frequent biting.
CTPH led the team to relocate him to the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre to expand their zebra population.
In his new home.
As fears rise about “swine flu” and other diseases that jump the species barrier, FRONTLINE/World takes a journey to Uganda’s “Impenetrable Forest”–a hot zone of disease, where a wildlife veterinarian’s (Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka) attempt to save endangered mountain gorillas has led to a new idea in public health being adopted by others around the world, including our own CDC.
Uganda: Out of the Wild will air on November 17th 2009 at 9PM on PBS (check local listings).
The link is also on www.ctph.org home page.Thanks in advance for your support and interest in CTPH!
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is surrounded by one of the highest human population densities in Africa of 200 to 300 people per square kilometre. Typically Bwindi forest is not surrounded by a buffer zone, and many parts of Bwindi are characterised by fragmented forest patches, surrounded by human habitation, where gorillas don’t know the boundaries. As a result there is human and gorilla conflict. Various measures have been taken to reduce this conflict including empowering the community through training of a Human and Gorilla Conflict Resolution (HUGO) volunteer team to chase gorillas back to the park, an initiative of Uganda Wildlife Authority supported by International Gorilla Conservation Programme.
In August 2009, Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) held gorilla health monitoring training workshops with 90 HUGO members who play a very important role in helping to prevent disease transmission between people and gorillas, as gorillas are most likely to pick up diseases from humans and livestock when foraging in people’s gardens. The HUGO members reported that a few of them had sent in fecal samples following two previous introductory gorilla health monitoring workshops by CTPH in the past three years. We asked them to identify the samples that they sent in so we that we could differentiate them from the samples brought in by park rangers, and be able to measure their level of effort in this very important activity.
Shortly after the workshop it was very nice to see that the HUGO members are now sending even more samples than the park staff. This is also a reflection of how often the gorillas leave the park and come into close proximity with people. The gorilla fecal samples collected by HUGO members are being compared with those collected by park trackers when the gorillas are inside the park. Healthy gorillas mean sustainable ecotourism and livelihoods for the communities of Bwindi.
These HUGO training workshops have been funded by the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation and the Whitley Award supported by World Wildlife Fund and Whitley Fund For Nature.