Abstract # 1195 Event # 119:

Scheduled for Tuesday, June 27, 2006 02:00 PM-04:00 PM: Session 18 (Kama A) Symposium


SYMPOSIUM: Integrated Health Approach to Gorilla Conservation

M. Cranfield1 and G. Kalema-Zikusoka2
1Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project , Maryland Zoo at Baltimore, Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, Maryland 21023, USA, 2Conservation Through Public Health, Kampala, Uganda
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     Conservation medicine exists at the intersection of animal health, human health, and ecosystem health. It differs from classical public health epidemiology in that it aims to protect and improve ecosystem and animal health, in addition to human health. Conservation medicine studies diseases shared between or among species and interactions with environmental variables over long-term biological and spatial scales. Zoonotic diseases and the emergence of new diseases are therefore of primary concern, and are particularly important when threatened and endangered great ape populations are involved. The effective practice of conservation medicine demands an integrated team approach involving wildlife and livestock veterinarians, local physicians, public health professionals, ecologists, politicians and communities. Common interests, improved data collection, and economies of scale argue for combining health surveillance and delivery efforts. This team approach needs to be tailored to the infrastructure and sophistication of the host country’s human and livestock health systems, and must also be appropriate for the size and characteristics of the great ape population. Examples from gorilla conservation programs range from small populations with individually identifiable gorillas surrounded by dense human populations, to large unhabituated gorilla populations in areas of very low human density. It is often, by default, the wildlife veterinarian who coordinates the “one health” approach, because of their training in wildlife and livestock medicine as well as zoonotic and emerging disease issues. This symposium presents examples of collaborative conservation medicine approaches to gorilla conservation.