Environmental Stress in Rwanda's Mountain Gorillas

Lincoln Park Zoo is working with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and Zoo Atlanta to conserve Rwanda's endangered mountain gorillas

Quantifying Pressures on Endangered Apes

Rwanda’s fabled mountain gorillas have faced a number of conservation challenges. Habitat loss, poaching and human conflict have impacted these majestic apes, which are native to the Virunga mountains.

Lincoln Park Zoo is working with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and Zoo Atlanta to conserve this endangered species. Zoo scientists are analyzing fecal samples collected in the wild to study the relationship between gorilla stress levels, environmental pressures and potential tourist pressures. Researchers hope to evaluate how the last two factors impact the health of the region’s famous gorillas.

To date, more than 9,000 samples have been sent from Rwanda to Lincoln Park Zoo’s endocrinology lab. The resulting data will help scientists in the field better conserve this complex social species.


Staff and Collaborators

Rachel Santymire, Ph.D., is director of Lincoln Park Zoo's Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology

Rachel Santymire, Ph.D.
Director, Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology

Michael Landeche is the Endocrinology Laboratory Associate in Lincoln Park Zoo's Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology

Michael Landeche
Endocrinology Lab Associate, Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology

Stacy Rosenbaum, Ph.D.
Behavioral Endocrinology Postdoctoral Fellow, Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology

 

 

 

Tara Stoinski
Director of Primate Research, Zoo Atlanta and Vice President/Chief Scientist, The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

Winnie Eckhardt
Postdoctoral Fellow, Zoo Atlanta

Multimedia

 

Hormone Detectives
Studying the hormones of animals can inform a wide array of researchers' decisions, including breeding, stress and introductions. Learn more about this vital information here.

Researcher Rachel Santymire, Ph.D., shares photos of wildlife sightings—and zoo work to save species—from her conservation trip to Tanzania and Rwanda.

A Trip to Africa
Zebras. Elephants. Mountain gorillas. Researcher Rachel Santymire, Ph.D., shares photos of wildlife sightings—and zoo work to save species—from her conservation trip to Tanzania and Rwanda.

Endocrinologist Rachel Santymire visits Rwanda for a new partnership studying stress and health among the country’s famous mountain gorillas.

Studying Stress in Rwanda's Gorillas
Endocrinologist Rachel Santymire visits Rwanda for a new partnership studying stress and health among the country’s famous mountain gorillas.

Researcher Rachel Santymire hikes up a mountain to see Rwanda’s famous mountain gorillas—part of a Lincoln Park Zoo partnership to help study stress in the species.

Climbing the Mountain to See Gorillas
Researcher Rachel Santymire hikes up a mountain to see Rwanda’s famous mountain gorillas—part of a Lincoln Park Zoo partnership to help study stress in the species.