Zoo scientists trekking through the African rainforest

Monitoring Ape Health

A wild chimpanzee peering through the foilage

Purpose

Individual health records from the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project and the Mondika Gorilla Project indicate seasonal patterns in respiratory outbreaks that impact both gorillas and chimpanzees to varying degrees.

About

There are a myriad of health threats that pose considerable concern to the preservation of endangered western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) across central Africa. Emerging diseases and increasing human encroachment on wild ape populations have elevated the risk for potential cross-species pathogen exchange.

Addressing the ape-human interface is particularly relevant in the Goualougo Triangle study sites, where ape research, tourism, and logging intersect. This multi-use region harbors high densities of sympatric gorillas and chimpanzees, as well as increasing human populations. Implementation of health monitoring programs and the investigation of proactive measures by zoo scientists to protect both wild ape and human health have been identified as conservation priorities.

Individual health records from the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project and the Mondika Gorilla Project indicate seasonal patterns in respiratory outbreaks that impacted both species to varying degrees. These findings are used to inform best practice guidelines that facilitate more effective ape conservation.

Staff

Dave Morgan, Ph.D.
Research Fellow, Co-Director of the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project
Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes
Crickette Sanz, Ph.D.
Adjunct Scientist
Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes