Houston Zoo Wildlife Partners Work Together to Save Gorillas!

The Houston Zoo partners with organizations around the world to save wildlife. In Central Africa, we partner with 3 organizations (GRACE, Gorilla Doctors and Conservation Heritage-Turambe) who all work to save gorillas in the wild. These organizations often work together to achieve their missions of making sure gorillas are safe in the wild. Below is an update from Conservation Heritage-Turambe who recently had a Gorilla Doctors staff member visit their classroom to teach Rwandan youth about what it’s like to work in the field as a veterinarian for wild gorillas.

Blog written by Valerie Akuredusenge, Program Director of the conservation education program, Conservation Heritage-Turambe (Rwanda). 

Conservation Heritage – Turambe (CHT) partners with Gorilla Doctors on messaging and leading classes on the conservation and protection of the critically endangered mountain gorillas. Last week, Dr. Methode Bahizi (Gorilla Doctors) came to a CHT class to talk about when, why, and how they treat mountain gorillas.

Dr. Methode Bahizi from Gorilla Doctors discusses when, why and how they treat mountain gorillas in the field.
Dr. Methode Bahizi from Gorilla Doctors discusses when, why and how they treat mountain gorillas in the field.

During his discussion with students, he focused on activities that Gorillas Doctors do such as monitoring the health of gorillas, treating ill and injured gorillas, doing research, conducting necropsies and collecting samples to analyze them. He also demonstrated how they treat gorillas using real equipment.

Dr. Methode Bahizi shows some of the equipment used by Gorilla Doctors to CHT students.
Dr. Methode Bahizi shows some of the equipment used by Gorilla Doctors to CHT students.

This lesson is very important for CHT students because they learn about their community’s natural resources. In addition, Rwandan students see someone from their local community with a very important conservation job, which helps them to understand what jobs they could grow up and have if they work hard.

Gorilla Doctors staff demonstrates how they use dart guns to treat sick gorillas in the wild.
Gorilla Doctors staff demonstrates how they use dart guns to treat sick gorillas in the wild.

During the lesson, CHT students realize how their health is really linked to that of mountain gorillas.  Humans get the same illnesses that mountain gorillas get such as pneumonia, intestinal parasites (protozoans or worms) and some of these parasites affect humans and gorillas equally.

Using a stuffed gorilla toy, Dr. Methode acts out the entire scenario one may go through while treating/taking care of a sick gorilla.
Using a stuffed gorilla toy, Dr. Methode acts out the entire scenario one may go through while treating/taking care of a sick gorilla.

CHT team thanks so much Gorilla Doctors for coming to class to keep on inspiring the future conservationists of Rwanda.

You can help gorillas all the way from Houston by simply visiting the Zoo! A portion of every ticket sold goes directly to our wildlife saving efforts. In addition, you can recycle your small electronics (like cell phones) at our main gate. These electronics contain a material mined in gorilla habitat and when we recycle that material, less of it needs to be mined from the homes of gorillas. Find out more about taking action at the Houston Zoo here!



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