The young Grauer’s gorilla orphan rescued from a Rwandan jailhouse on August 7th, 2011 by Dr. Jan Ramer of the Gorilla Doctors, with help from the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the Congolese Park Authority (ICCN), and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, will soon be moved to the GRACE center in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Ihirwe is now estimated to be 3.5-years-old and has grown from a scrawny, insecure infant into a mischievous, confident, and healthy juvenile. With her move to GRACE, she will finally enjoy the company of other young Grauer’s gorillas and return to her home country in the DRC. 

For more about Ihirwe’s rescue, click here. 

Grauer’s gorilla orphan Ihirwe. © Nelis Wolmarans for the Gorilla Doctors

Gorilla Doctors director Dr. Mike Cranfield, along with Regional Veterinary Manager Dr. Dawn Zimmerman, Rwanda Field Vet Dr. Jean Bosco Noheri, and Regional Lab Vet Dr. Methode Bahizi recently conducted Ihirwe’s “preshipment” exam, to assess her health in preparation for her big move from the Kinigi facility to the GRACE center. 

Drs. Mike, Methode, Noel and Dawn collect samples and examine Ihirwe.

Here is Dr. Noel’s report:

Ihirwe was fasted for eight hours prior to her exam. Ketamine and dexmedetomidine were administered in Ihirwe’s left thigh at 10:48 on the morning of her exam. Within nine minutes, the anesthesia had taken effect and we brought Ihirwe into her night house to conduct the exam. 

Upon physical examination, we found a sore on her right hind foot and a minor cut on the left hind sole of her foot.

Ihirwe’s stomach was 3/4 full and her body weight and condition was good. Ihirwe now weighs 25.1 kilograms. Ivermectin, a deworming medication, was administered. Blood, feces, urine, and hair samples were collected as well as nasal, oropharyngeal, rectal, and vaginal swabs. 

Drs. Mike and Methode collect blood samples during Ihirwe’s exam.

Gorilla Doctors administered a rabies and tetanus vaccination on November 26, 2012, so Ihirwe is up to date on her vaccines. An intradermal tuberculosis test was performed during this exam (an injection of 0.1 ml of mammalian tuberculin was injected into the skin of her upper left eyelid) and after all three readings, the test was evaluated as negative.

In January 2012, Ihirwe fell from a tree in her enclosure and nearly knocked out her two front teeth. As always, Gorilla Doctors was there to care for her and provide medical treatment. Drs. Dawn and Noel drove to Kinigi to assess Ihirwe’s condition and administered antibiotics and pain medications. Fortunately, the two teeth in question were both baby teeth and fell out in their own time. For more about Ihirwe’s dental injury, click here.

Orphan Ihirwe’s teeth and gums were examined.

There were no significant abnormal findings on Ihirwe’s physical exam, TB testing, or laboratory findings. Ihirwe appears to be in good health, and ready to make her big move to the GRACE center.

** Gorilla Doctors would like to thank Nelis Wolmarans for his excellent photographic coverage of Ihirwe’s exam. Head on over to the Nelis Wolmarans Photography page on Facebook and give him a “like”! **

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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