Former Gorilla Doctors veterinary intern Dr. Adrien Emile Ntwali is now the newest member of our team based in Rwanda, currently working as a field veterinarian for Gorilla Doctors and the PREDICT Project.

When he was young, Dr. Adrien and his close friend had dreams of becoming medical doctors together. Their paths diverged, however, when Dr. Adrien decided to enter the University of Rwanda, School of Veterinary Medicine instead. At the time he did not know that he would end up in the wildlife and conservation field—it was really a matter of chance proximity that helped guide him in this direction.

His interest in wildlife veterinary medicine was piqued when he happened upon the Gorilla Doctors website, only to discover that Gorilla Doctors’ Rwanda headquarters was just a 40-minute drive from his home. He was fascinated to learn that gorillas could catch diseases from humans and that there was a field team of veterinarians working to treat them in the wild. At that moment, he made it his life goal to work with Gorilla Doctors one day.

After graduating from the University of Rwanda with his veterinary degree in 2016, he was selected to serve as a veterinary intern with Gorilla Doctors, receiving hands-on training in One Health through  work on the PREDICT project as well as work with Dr. Mike on a US Embassy-funded project to improve hygiene infrastructure and practice for Volcanoes National Park staff and guests. He did such an excellent job as a veterinary intern that Gorilla Doctors hired him to continue assisting us with these important projects. When asked to describe a typical day in the life of a Gorilla Doctors veterinarian, Dr. Adrien said:

“Gorilla Doctors are always ready to save the lives of gorillas anytime, no matter how the weather is looking, no matter what time of the day or week, no matter how far the gorillas are in the forest, no matter what circumstances.”

Dr. Adrien already has many memorable moments during his relatively short time with Gorilla Doctors. He says the most moving incident for him may have been witnessing the intervention to remove a snare from the arm of Icyogere, an infant in the Susa-Kurira group back in 2016.