Earlier this month, Gorilla Doctors was alerted by trackers in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda) that adult female Buzinza of Rushegura group appeared to be favoring one of her arms.

Our Gorilla Doctors team immediately hiked into the forest to perform a veterinary assessment to determine  the severity of her injury. When they confirmed that she was unable to bear any weight on her arm and had visible swelling on her elbow, they made the critical decision on January 18th to proceed with a clinical intervention – to anaesthetize her for a physical examination and x-rays to determine the extent of her injuries.

After a long hike into the dense and steep forests of Bwindi, Dr. Fred darted Buzinza . As soon as she was chemically immobilized, our veterinarians obtained x-rays of her right arm, which showed that she had no fractures – good news!  But further examination revealed that she had extensive, infected bite wounds on her elbow, and that the infection was spreading to the bone. Blood tests confirmed that she was fighting a severe infection.

wild mountain gorilla radiograph from x-ray

Radiographs (l-r): Buzinza’s shoulder & elbow

Gorilla Doctors  cleaned and flushed Buzinza’s wounds and administered antibiotics, pain-relievers, multivitamins, and fluids. They also collected samples for laboratory analysis to get a fuller picture of her health status.

Fortunately, Buzinza recovered quickly from the anesthesia and started feeding again within 2 hours of waking up. Our teams have been conducting post-treatment check-ups and administered another round of antibiotics a few days after the intervention.

wild mountain gorilla buzinza waking up from anaesthesia

Buzinza waking up after the intervention


Follow-up on January 23, 2018:

Drs. Ricky & Benard entered Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to follow-up on Buzinza following the administration of antibiotics just 5 days earlier. It was a good sign to see her actively feeding and also bearing some weight on her right arm, something that had not been previously observed. The wound appears dry and the healing process is progressing well.

They administered another round of antibiotics via two separate darts on the upper forearm. As of now, Buzinza’s prognosis looks good!