A Message from Gorilla Doctors on Ebola and Eastern GorillasBy Gorilla Doctors Staff on Friday, October 17th, 2014 in Blog.
We share the world’s deep concern regarding West Africa’s Ebolavirus outbreak and the devastating impact the virus is having on people, communities and nations. We are also concerned about the separate Ebolavirus outbreak occurring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Gorillas are highly susceptible to Ebolavirus; indeed, many thousands of western lowland gorillas have likely perished in past Ebolavirus outbreaks in central Africa.
Mountain and Grauer’s gorillas are among the world’s most endangered primates. With just 880 mountain gorillas and only a few thousand Grauer’s gorillas left in the world, an outbreak of a disease such as Ebolavirus could have a devastating impact on the survival of the species.
If an Ebolavirus outbreak were to occur within or very close to the range of the mountain or Grauer’s gorilla, from a conservation standpoint it would be important to consider all measures for assisting their survival. All options, including the potential for vaccination (if a vaccine were available), would need to be collectively discussed by governments and stakeholders.
All discussions about protecting mountain and Grauer’s gorillas from Ebolavirus would of course consider the paramount importance of human health, and any decisions could not be at the expense of protecting the health of people living in the communities surrounding mountain gorilla parks.