For every gorilla health case that requires a full medical intervention, the Gorilla Doctors probably follow up on at least half a dozen other cases that thankfully do not require emergency treatment. To ensure we catch health problems in the early stages, the Gorilla Doctors keep in close contact with the trackers who monitor the gorilla groups on a daily basis. Whenever a problem is noted, such as coughing in the group, a wounded silverback, or a sickly baby, the Gorilla Doctors trek to the group to make a visual health check and determine what additional care is needed.
Karisoke Research center trackers reported on April 3 that Bishushwe’s 4-month-old infant group was not observed nursing this past morning, was crying, and appeared to be experiencing abdominal pain based on unusual movements of the infant. Historically, trackers reported that this mother Bishushwe has raised her previous offspring well. The next day I went to assess the infant. Trackers had been with the group for about 15 minutes prior to my arrival and reported that the infant appeared much improved and they had observed it nursing. A visual examination of the infant revealed normal activity and body condition, although nursing was not directly observed during my veterinary assessment.
The infant was not crying nor did he or she display any abnormal abdominal movements attributed to pain. The mother, Bishushwe, also appeared in good general health and I observed no visual abnormalities of her mammary glands.
You can follow the Gorilla Doctors health monitoring efforts on our Facebook page, where we post photos and notes from our monthly visits.
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