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Endangered mountain gorillas may face new health challenges

Studies suggest that the gorillas which were saved from the brink of extinction may face new health challenges in the coming days. The study was the first of its kind species-wide survey of parasites conducted by the Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Czech Academy of Sciences; University of Veterinary Sciences Brno, Czech Republic; Gorilla Doctors; and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in collaboration with protected area authorities of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (the Rwanda Development Board, the Uganda Wildlife Authority and l’Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, respectively.

The population of all mountain Gorillas is concentrated in the protected areas of Rwanda, Uganda, and DR Congo areas where the potential for expanding such protected areas is very low. This is mainly attributed to densely populated human communities nearby, and this also fuels the transmission of infectious to these endangered animals. The new study aims to bring this issue to the spotlight and, therefore, can help form future reforms on saving these animals.

The Study

The study focused on the drivers and patterns of Gastrointestinal helminth (a group of parasites) infection in these mountain gorillas and how they can impact future populations. Researchers say that Although Gastrointestinal parasites can be asymptomatic in wild Non-Human primates, host and extrinsic factors can play a crucial role in the transmission and susceptibility of the parasites. Therefore, they say that the study is aimed at focusing on these factors. The study quantified Strongylid and tapeworm eggs in the fecal samples of mountain gorillas.

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Source: Phys.org

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