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Coming Soon: Just Like Us, a book by Docs4GreatApes founder Dr. Rick Quinn

Just Like Us: A Veterinarian's Visual Memoir of Our Vanishing Great Ape Relatives by Dr. Rick Quinn

Foreword by Jane Goodall

Just Like Us: A Veterinarian's Visual Memoir of Our Vanishing Great Ape Relatives by Dr. Rick Quinn

Just Like Us

A Veterinarian's Visual Memoir of Our Vanishing Great Ape Relatives

Just Like Us: A Veterinarian's Visual Memoir of Our Vanishing Great Ape Relatives
A stirring account of hope and survival for the planet's endangered great ape species.
Just Like Us: A stirring account of hope and survival for the planet's endangered great ape species.

Docs4GreatApesDocs 4 Great Apes

In 2016, Docs4GreatApes answered a call to top up scholarship funding provided by the Houston Zoo for training wildlife veterinarians in East Africa. The Wildlife ConserVet Education Project grew out of our experience sponsoring three outstanding African veterinarians as they faced the challenge of completing their Masters of Science in Wildlife Health Management degree programs.

Read their personal stories below—first as they began in 2016, and then their heartfelt update five years later.

Jean Bosco Noheli

Rwanda
Jean Bosco Noheli

Personal

  • Born December 25, 1980 in family of 3 children, two boys and one girl, raised in Gicumbi District, Northern Province, Rwanda.
  • Married to Monique UMUTONI

Education

  • 2009 Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine, Higher Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (ISAE-Busogo) (now University of Rwanda)

Professional Experience

  • April 2012 to present: Field Veterinarian Gorilla Doctors/ Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, Musanze, Rwanda
  • November 2009 to April 2012: Regional Laboratory Manager, Gorilla Doctors/ Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, Musanze, Rwanda
2016
Initial Thoughts

Dr. Noel's initial thoughts on his MSc (Wildlife Medicine) training and work...

"I enjoy working with our team members. And I like most seeing a treated gorillas improving after a successful intervention.

The combination of MSc training and work is not an easy one in terms of requirements as you have to attend both class and work calls but they complement each other in terms of professional development.

This course is an opportunity for us to deepen our skills in wildlife health and management so that after the course we can help our countries in all projects and policies on wildlife as source of considerable income for our society but also conserve and protect these creatures as components of ecosystem.

We will also use these skills to perform well our daily gorilla work and join the research network on wildlife and diseases.

We are so thankful for you guys and particularly our supervisors for providing this opportunity and we will continue passing thanking words on behalf of wild animals in this region."

2021
Updated Thoughts

"My professional path has been successful and impactful because I had the chance to work with people who not only care about wildlife but also inspire and develop young professionals.

The master's program in wildlife health and management was mainly to deepen our ability to handle clinical cases out in the field, efficiently contribute to the wildlife conservation in general and be able to train junior veterinarians with interest in wildlife medicine.

After the program I continued with my role as a field veterinarian. Over the last two years, with the retirement of Dr. Cranfield, our long-time Director, it was time for me to help the Gorilla Doctors team fill that huge gap. I began to appreciate how much the program has impacted my professional growth. I now lead clinical interventions on mountain gorillas and other wild animals in need and I mentor young veterinarians on the aspects of wildlife medicine.

I absolutely think my colleagues see me as being able to contribute more after my training, based on the fact that I am more independent compared to time before the program. We work as one team and individual achievements translate the success of our entire team. Always advanced training—whether hands on training, short course or a degree program—reminds you how much you still need to learn and it equips you for the new challenges. Especially in this domain of wildlife which still holds a lot to discover.

I am so grateful for the support from Docs4greatApes and all individuals who have contributed to make our dreams become a reality. And I hope more veterinarians from Rwanda, DRC and Uganda will benefit from such support and come enhance our teams."

Eddy Kambale Syaluha

Rwanda
Eddy Kambale Syaluha

Personal

  • Born March 24, 1972, the second son in a family of 6 children, 5 boys and one girl in Lubero, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
  • Has lived in in Goma for 13 years, a volcanic region, with active volcanoes Nyiragongo et Nyamulagira, near the Virunga Massif, home to the rare Mountain Gorilla; North Kivu Province, the eastern part of DRC, in Central Africa.
  • Married to the lovely Guilaine with whom they have now 3 boys, Williams, Luc and Gift, respectively 8, 6 and 3 years old.

Education

  • 1992 Veterinary Science Degree, Technical Institute of Agriculture and Veterinary Science in Butembo, DRC
  • 2002 Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine, Catholic University of Graben, Butembo, DRC

Professional Experience

  • 2011 to present: Head Veterinarian for DRC, Gorilla Doctors/ Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 2004 to 2011: Field Veterinarian, Gorilla Doctors/ Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 2002-2004: Secondary School Teacher, Technical Institute of Agriculture and Veterinary Science in Butembo, DRC
2016
Initial Thoughts

Dr. Eddy's thoughts on his MSc (Wildlife Medicine) training and work...

"My best part of my work was to see how to raise a baby gorilla like a substitute mother, from a very bad health condition and be able to contribute save his life. This was building up my love to these amazing creature and when I got to the forest for my first time seeing the gorillas in wild, I was really very happy and very excited to see how they live in wild and from there I realized that the captivity situation was a true jail and could not feel well when having new poached gorilla.

I was very excited to hear about the MSc program in wildlife medicine and I found my dream accomplished because since 2006, I started burning in my heart to have more knowledge in wildlife management. I am very proud being part of the great study team among my work mate, with which we are not only learning sciences (Ecology, diseases, epidemiology,..) but also getting some life experience, while interacting with teachers and students. The time has been challenging while combining studies, work and family; and it was very hard at the beginning but now we are adjusting and getting use to the course schedule while we are sometimes travelling for forest work to save gorilla's life.

Ended, I am also proud of our Gorilla Doctors leaders and colleagues, for giving us this great opportunity of capacity building and colleagues who are making amazing sacrifices working hard while we are out for the MSc.

With your great support from Docs4GreatApes, I believe that I will improve my capacity and skills and so I can contribute significantly to the achievement of mission statement of Gorilla Doctors project through, "ONE HEALTH program".

For my country, after getting new skills, I will contribute to promote the conservation of free-ranging and captive wildlife for the future generations, increase the economy of my country through health education based on ONE HEALTH Topics and increase eco-tourism income with healthy people living in a healthy environment."

2021
Updated Thoughts

"Being a veterinarian is an amazing gift in my life. I always feel very excited and more than happy any time I work with animals, mostly with great apes—my close cousins—and help them have a better and longer life by treating their illnesses. This is my best way of serving them; my respect for all kinds of life has increased tremendously—I feel I am among the happier boys on this earth.

Since I joined Gorilla Doctors in 2004, I was burning to continue with education. I was lucky to get the scholarship opportunity from Docs4GreatApes to be enrolled in the MSc program of Wildlife Health and Management at Makerere University 2016-2017. Very few veterinarians in my country, The Democratic Republic of Congo, are able to enroll in this unique capacity building program. My network of skilled and experienced veterinarians in wildlife medicine and management has grown and from the new scientific experience I gained, I am acting more efficiently in my role as the Head Veterinarian for Gorilla Doctors in DR Congo. I am much more able to contribute significantly to conserve wild eastern gorillas through life-saving veterinary medicine and a One Health approach. I am playing an instrumental role in the promotion and success of gorilla ecotourism by keeping gorillas healthy. This industry brings income and much needed jobs to a part of my country historically stricken with poverty and political unrest.

The wildlife medicine MSc program was not only strengthening my scientific knowledge but also my small family—my wife and kids were all happy hearing about my graduation. My kids were asking me very often saying, “Daddy are you sure you will succeed?” and this was for me a great motivation for my success.

Using my new scientific experience in wildlife health and management, I am striving to improve veterinary instruction in my country with young Congolese veterinary students and interns interested in conservation medicine. I am working hard to make a strong science- based future generation of veterinarians working with wildlife. I am convinced and strongly recommend that this important capacity building program should continue to help many young veterinarians in wildlife medicine and management. My country is in the heart of Africa, second largest forest after the Amazon and home of three of the great ape species (gorillas and chimpanzees as well as bonobos) and refuge of a very great and rare biodiversity."

Fred Nizeyimana

Rwanda
Fred Nizeyimana

Personal

  • Born September 22, 1978 in Uganda
  • Married with 3 children

Education

  • 2005 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

Professional Experience

  • 2010 to present: Field Veterinarian Uganda, Gorilla Doctors/ Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project
  • 2007 to 2009: Veterinarian and sanctuary manager at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee sanctuary Uganda
  • 2005 to 2007: acting Project Manager for the Kibale EcoHealth Project in Kibale National Park, Uganda
2016
Initial Thoughts

Dr. Freds's thoughts on his MSc (Wildlife Medicine) training and work...

"I enrolled this year together with four others that include my colleagues Drs. Jean Bosco Noheli/ Rwanda and Eddy Syaluha Kambale/ DRCongo. The Gorilla Doctors Capacity building coordinator, Associate Professor John Bosco Nizeyi fondly called Dr. JBN organized with his fellow professors a time-table that caters for our role as full time field veterinarians of mountain gorillas. We study full time for 8 days in a month and work for 20 days. During working time we attend to sick gorillas if any, do routine health monitoring at the same time do our study assignments and reading. The course has opened other doors to knowledge and skills in the area of research, wildlife ecology and management, disease management and social dynamics on a large scale.

Tentative area of research- Antibiotic resistance study in the mountain gorillas, humans and domestic animals with emphasis on microbes isolated during respiratory infections.

I think it's kinda a story of "three gorilla doctors musketeers" in a class of five MSc. students! Our morale is high when we meet up for class for 4-4 days immediately after our routine work. Personally it has been a time of sharing my time on a roughly tough balance between work, break-time and school. I am adjusting well to this new life. It is a dream fulfillment in part.

I am lucky and privileged to be part of this MSc. wildlife health scholarship scheme under Gorilla Doctors partly sponsored by Docs4GreatApes."

2021
Updated Thoughts

"I am honored to be among the Gorilla Doctors graduate team, and would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the study scholarship that enabled me to earn MSc in Wildlife Health Management that did enhance my career skills in wildlife conservation.

The MSc has increased my philosophy and disease diagnostics for mountain gorillas and other wild animals—I have participated in giraffe translocation (moving from one area to another) and been involved with the post-mortem (autopsy) of other wild animals since.

The course enabled me to appreciate One-Health practices, antimicrobial resistance and infectious disease management. This has enabled me to attend several workshops and seminars since and make presentations about my research topic “Antimicrobial resistance profiles of bacteria isolated from upper respiratory tract of humans having close contact with mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park” at the National Antimicrobial Resistance Conference and the African Primatology Society Conference.

This career advancement increased my disease management contribution on the national level. I was part of the select team of ‘animal health experts’ that was recently (September 2020) engaged in reviewing-drafting-harmonizing the Ugandan Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries national animal health/disease surveillance plan.

I am forever grateful for the scholarship contribution which so far has bettered my mountain gorilla health-care and related research, wildlife conservation and management skills."

Your donation will help us improve the health of Great Ape populations, the communities that surround them, and the ecosystem that we share.

Docs4GreatApes is a Canadian not-for-profit corporation and registered charity.

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