Abstract # 61:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2011 05:15 PM-05:30 PM: Session 12 (Meeting Room 410) Oral Presentation


FIELD IMMOBILIZATION FOR TREATMENT OF AN UNKNOWN ILLNESS IN A WILD CHIMPANZEE (PAN TROGLODYTES SCHWEINFURTHII) AT GOMBE NATIONAL PARK, TANZANIA.

E. Lonsdorf1,2, D. Travis1,3, R. Ssuna4,5, E. Lantz1, M. Wilson3, K. Gamble1, K. Terio6, F. Leendertz7, B. Ehlers7, B. Keele8, B. Hahn9, T. Gillespie11, J. Pond1, J. Raphael10 and A. Collins12
1Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60076, USA, 2University of Chicago, 3University of Minnesota, 4Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, 5Lilongwe SPCA, 6University of Illinois, 7Robert Koch Institute, 8SAIC-Frederick Inc, 9University of Alabama at Birmingham, 10Gombe Stream Research Center, 11Emory University, 12The Jane Goodall Institute
line
     

Infectious diseases are widely presumed to be one of the greatest threats to ape conservation in the wild. Human-induced diseases are of particular concern and the costs and benefits of human presence in protected areas with apes are regularly debated. While numerous syndromes with fatal outcomes have recently been described, precise diagnosis of pathogens remains difficult. These diagnostic difficulties are compounded by the fact that direct veterinary intervention on wild apes is quite rare. Here we present the unique case of a wild chimpanzee at Gombe National Park who was observed with a severe illness and was subsequently examined and treated in the field. Multiple samples of blood and feces were collected and tested with the aim of identifying the pathogen responsible for the illness. The subject tested positive for a number of influenza and parainfluenza virus antibodies, two alphaherpesviruses, and one gammaherpesvirus. The ability to collect such samples from a living wild ape is limited, and as such our findings represent valuable baseline data for the ape conservation community. In addition, we present the case here to demonstrate the planning required and multiple types of expertise necessary to maximize the amount of data obtained from such a rare intervention, and to provide lessons learned for future studies.