Internship, Lwiro Primates Rehabilitation Center (December 2022-)
Fabien was born in 1997 in the small village of Mudaka in the province of South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. He and his four siblings would walk to attend the village primary school 8 km away. He helped his three brothers graze the family’s cows and goats; he was responsible for feeding the chickens, guinea pigs, and rabbits. While in primary school, the family moved 30 km away to the city of Bukavu, population of over a million people at the time. Fabien continued to raise pigeons, hens, and a cat in Bukavu.
Fabien recalls watching many wildlife documentaries and in 2011, chose the veterinary option in high school. He continued his interest in veterinary medicine at university, enrolling in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Lubumbashi, finishing as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2021.
Prior to receiving the ConserVet scholarship, Dr. Murhula worked as a consultant veterinarian on a large pastoral farm with cows, sheep, goats, guinea fowl, turkeys, ducks, ostrich, and emu. On being chosen for a ConserVet Internship Scholarship, Fabien recalls “When I heard the message, I was very happy. I told myself that my dream of doing wildlife and working with primates is accomplished. My goal was to one day work with wild animals. And here I am now!”
Following his internship, Fabien hopes to continue with research on wildlife in general and primates in particular. Fabien says “Great apes have for some years been victims of infectious diseases—the case of Ebola Virus Disease having killed thousands of gorillas in West Africa, and many other diseases. I would like to contribute to safeguarding these flagship animals by working on zoonoses with the aim of improving not only the health of the populations of great apes, but also the communities that surround them within a One Health framework.”
Dr. Murhula plans on contributing to the training of other young people to share the knowledge and skills that he has acquired. On the value he feels in the ConserVet scholarship, Fabien says “the ConserVet scholarship is a very good opportunity, a privilege to empower the African veterinarian, the latter lacking in the knowledge of wildlife medicine. The scholarship will help me be independent, with regards to the surveillance of wildlife diseases and the medical care of such animals. Parks and protected areas will be able to promote wildlife health with medical care and good monitoring of animal diseases and hopefully prevent pandemics and a loss of specimens.”
Docs4GreatApes is committed to improving the health of great ape populations, the communities that surround them, and the ecosystem we share, through education.