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AFC Flag Expedition #11:
How an Artist Saved the Mountain Gorilla: Retracing the Footsteps of Carl Akeley 85 Years Later
Expedition Artist: Stephen C. Quinn
Purpose: To retrace the steps of the American Museum of Natural History icon, Carl Akeley; to tell the unique story of how an artist catalyzed Africa's first national park; and to highlight and support current conservation work being done to save the Mountain Gorilla.
Location: Democratic Republic of Congo & Rwanda, Central Africa
Scheduled For: November, 2010
Watch for the
Flag Journal
About Steve Quinn
About the Houston Zoo
About Mountain Gorilla Veterinarian Project
About the American Museum of Natural History
About UC Davis Wildlife Health Center
View the Photos...
Read the Blog...
Artist Acknowledgments
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Mountain Gorilla Veterinarian Project out of U.C. Davis

For nearly 20 years, veterinarians have been helping Mountain Gorillas survive by providing them with life-saving veterinary care for human-caused or life-threatening illnesses and injuries. The project began as one veterinarian; now it has grown into an entire team.  With teams of experienced personnel, MGVP veterinarians track ailing gorillas, observe and treat them when needed, inside their native habitat.
 The Mountain Gorillas are the only great apes whose numbers are actually growing. Although this species remains endangered, their numbers have grown from 248 to over 360 individuals in the Virunga Massif in Rwanda alone. The total number of Mountain Gorillas is estimated to be 700-750 individuals.  Still, these animals remain highly endangered due to threats from war, poaching, habitat destruction and human disease. Their numbers remain critically low, with no fallback breeding population in sanctuaries or zoos.
MGVP staff work in three countries: Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Mountain Gorillas are found only in Central Africa and only in two regions:
1) the Virunga Massif mountain range which includes the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda (Parc National des Volcans), the Virunga National Park in the DRC (Parc National de Virunga) and the Mgahinga National Park in Uganda; and,
2) the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda.
The success of MGVP, Inc. is dependent upon working agreements with various organizations and well-established partnerships.  Our primary partners include the Office Rwandais du Toursime et des Parcs Nationaux (ORTPN) in Rwanda, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in Uganda, and the Insitut pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and their respective park authorities.
The field veterinarians in each country work together whenever possible. The regional headquarters are centrally located in Musanze, Rwanda čan hour's drive from both the DRC and Uganda.  The project maintains its international headquarters in Maryland, USA, and its regional headquarters in Ruhengeri (Musanze), Rwanda.  The MGVP staff also has access to dedicated office space in Goma, DRC as well as in Buhoma and Kampala, Uganda.

Visit the following site for more information on MGVP:

More on the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project: <>

MGVP director Dr. Mike Cranfield was one of the first veterinarians to embrace the concept of one-health, or integrated, medical coverage and apply it on behalf of great ape conservation. Mike has led the project since 1999, always on the lookout for ways to build local capacity. MGVP has trained a number of in-country vets, helping several to obtain masters and PhD degrees. Mike has also expanded MGVP programs to include employee and domestic animal health. His greatest challenge these days is raising the funds to sustain all of this important work. A Canadian, Mike currently lives near the Baltimore Zoo in Maryland, where he works as a research veterinarian studying avian malaria in South African penguins. His hobbies include competitive sailboat racing, ice hockey, and squash.

Kirsten Gilardi is Co-director with Mike Cranfield of the Mountain Gorilla One Health Program (joint initiative between MGVP and UC Davis). Kirsten is based at UC Davis near Sacramento, California.

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