It is the very first International Gorilla Day. As an animal lover, I think it’s pretty cool. It might not really mean a lot to a lot of people, but that’s okay. I know I post a lot of animal stuff and not too much student stuff yet. But animals are a big part of my life. I’m a huge supporter for the One Health Initiative (basically saying Human, animal, and environment are ALL connected). It’s a goal of mine to be able to to contribute to One Health once I complete my degree. I’m not totally sure if it’s possible, but I’d love to be able to do it.
Gorillas have always been near and dear to my heart. When I was in high school, I thought for sure that I’d work in Africa studying these guys. But plans change.
Gorillas live in family groups, with a large silverback (a mature male) in charge. The silverback’s job is to protect his family. They are, of course, VERY closely related to us. They share 98.3% of their DNA with us,humans. They spend their time munching, caring for their babies, and lounging around. Even though gorillas are almost completely vegetarians, the number one health killer for these guys is heart disease. They can even come in contact with diseases transferred from humans, including the Ebola virus. The One Health approach:
Research studies show that gorillas can become ill and even die as a result of coming into contact with germs transmitted by people and other animals. The relationship is dynamic, given the movements of people and animals in and out of the national parks, creating countless opportunities for disease exchange. Conservation workers and tourists spend time with habituated gorilla groups on a daily basis. Gorillas can also venture outside the national parks, coming into contact with local people and their domestic animals. Gorilla Doctors cannot ensure the long-term health of mountain gorillas without addressing human and domestic animal health as well.
the Gorilla Doctors
Everything is Connected.
So enjoy these magnificent creatures and learn about them and ways you can help protect them.