Protection of Great Apes
Students working in Uganda will experience a broad introduction to conservation medicine and One Health with a focus on public health implications of chimpanzee and human shared environments. Students will work closely with JGI staff and veterinary teams in the Budongo Conservation Field Station (BCFS), Kibale National Park and other Ugandan field sites that work to preserve chimpanzee populations and healthy habitats.
Chimpanzees are very closely related to humans, and in the communities around the protected parks in Uganda, humans live in close proximity to chimpanzees and may consume them for meat. From a veterinary, public health, or conservation perspective, this is the perfect recipe for disaster because humans and chimpanzees share many diseases (ranging from viruses such as Ebola and HIV/AIDS to bacteria such as anthrax). This is not only dangerous in terms of saving the dwindling population of this highly endangered animal species, which may contract disease from human neighbors, but it is also potentially dangerous for humans who may contract potentially lethal diseases from the chimpanzees in their own backyards.
Without a comprehensive program to monitor chimpanzee and human health determinants, we cannot reduce chimpanzee-human conflict, prevent disease transmission or promote chimpanzee welfare.