Dr. Eddy in the forest.By Molly Feltner, MGVP Communications Officer

While known for his sense of humor and warm smile, Dr. Eddy Kambale—one of MGVP’s two in-country field veterinarians based in DR Congo—has on numerous occasions been tasked with carrying out some of our most difficult missions. Since 2004, Dr. Eddy, in collaboration with our other DRC field veterinarian, Dr. Jacques, has been responsible for the healthcare of the mountain and Grauer’s gorillas living in Virunga and Kahuzi-Biega national parks.  Despite the war and instability of eastern Congo and a few close encounters with armed rebels over the years, Dr. Eddy has managed to rescue several gorilla orphans from poachers, perform regular health checks and multiple interventions, and even help carry out the field necropsies of the mountain gorillas murdered in July 2007. He also assisted in the transfers of orphaned mountain gorillas to Senkwekwe Center, Grauer’s gorillas to G.R.A.C.E., and chimps to Lwiro Rehabilitation Center.

Dr. Eddy removes Djingala from a box after her rescue.

This year, Dr. Eddy traveled to the Walikale, a “red zone” where rebel fighters and government soldiers regularly clash over control of the area’s mines, to save Djingala, a year-old Grauer’s gorilla who had been taken captive by poachers. Dr. Eddy also participated in several dramatic interventions, twice darting the silverback Mukunda, who wandered out Virunga National Park and into human settlements.  

Dr. Eddy performing an intervention on Mukunda.

“Performing field interventions is the most exciting part of my job,” says Dr. Eddy, whose first time seeing gorillas in 2004 was also his first intervention (the successful removal of a snare from the female gorilla Okapi). “My second favorite task is taking care of the kids—Ndeze and Ndakasi.” Dr. Eddy is the primary Medical care provider for the two orphans at the Senkwekwe Center at Rumangabo, and will soon be attending to the health of Miasha and Kaboko as well.

 Eddy with Grauer’s gorilla orphan Itebero in 2005 one of the first gorillas he helped rescue from poachers.

Hailing from Butembo, DRC, where he obtained his veterinary degree at the Catholic University of Graben, Dr. Eddy now lives in Goma with his wife Guillaine and his two young sons, William and Luc.  When he is not working or spending time with his family, Dr. Eddy treats domestic animals and pets at home and is planning to do work with veterinary clinics in Goma.

You can learn more about Eddy by reading his recent blog post about his trip to the U.S. to attend the 2010 American Association of Zoo Veterinarians conference.