By Molly Feltner, MGVP Communications Officer

The Gorilla Doctors recognize that the conservation of the mountain gorillas is a collective effort involving many different organizations. Indeed, much of our own work providing veterinary care to the gorillas is funded by donations and grants given by other organizations and foundations. Great thanks is owed to Partners in Conservation (PIC), one of our key supporters, which funds the salaries of two of our African veterinarians, Dr. Eddy Kambale and Dr. Jean-Felix Kinani. From its base at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, PIC raises money to benefit both conservation and humanitarian projects in Rwanda, DR Congo, and the U.S.

 Dr. Eddy at Bukima in Virunga National Park.

“This past year, thanks to PIC’s indispensable financial support, I have been able to do my job improving the sustainability of the mountain gorilla population in Congo and provide my wife and children with a good quality of life,” says Dr. Eddy. In 2010, Dr. Eddy played a key role in rescuing, treating, and transferring orphaned gorillas. In February he helped confiscate and treat the orphan Djingala, and later in the year he aided in the transfer of five Grauer’s gorilla orphans to the G.R.A.C.E. sanctuary and mountain gorillas Maisha and Kaboko to the Senkwekwe sanctuary. Dr. Eddy was also the lead veterinarian during multiple interventions in Congo, including twice darting and relocating the silverback Mukunda from villages back to Virunga National Park.

Dr. Jean-Felix

Dr. Jean-Felix, our Rwandan field veterinarian, was busy in 2010 monitoring the health of Rwanda’s mountain gorillas and golden monkeys and leading MGVP’s rabies vaccination program for dogs and cats around Volcanoes National Park. He also helped with the transfer of Maisha and Kaboko from Rwanda to Congo. “I would like to thank PIC for the support I have received, which allowed me to perform my duties of protecting the lives of critically-endangered mountain gorillas.”

Jeff Ramsey (center), Executive Director of Imbabazi, along with MGVP interns Olivier and Georgette, MGVP Agriculture Consultant John Huston, and Orphanage Director Emmanuel Mahagarara.

In turn, MGVP supports PIC’s work with a Rwandan humanitarian project, the Imbabazi Foundation, which manages and oversees the operations of the Imbabazi Orphanage near Gisenyi, Rwanda.  The orphanage was started after the 1994 Rwandan genocide by the late Rosamond Carr, a good friend of Dian Fossey. Imbabazi is dedicated to the health, safety, and welfare of the 91 children who were originally adopted by Carr. Its primary focus is on the education, vocational training, and teaching of life skills to prepare the children for successful adult lives. Gorilla Doctor Jan Ramer is a board member of Imbabazi and MGVP interns frequently work with the livestock at Imbabazi’s farm.