Killer Conservation: the implications of disease on gorilla conservation

Rhiannon Schultz
2016 BioRisk  
Human intrigue with the natural world has led to a boom in nature-oriented ecotourism and research endeavors. Some of these projects and programs focus on viewing or studying endangered wildlife, but can have negative implications on wild animal health. Human contact with sensitive habitat and wildlife presents a unique opportunity for the transmission of interspecies disease, which can have traumatic effects on the conservation of endangered species. Nonhuman primates have a relatively high
more » ... k of contracting disease from visiting tourists and researchers due to their genetic similarity to humans. Local people living in and around sensitive habitats also pose a potential threat of disease transmission. There are some protocols in place to help alleviate interspecies disease transmission, but many of these protocols are centered on protecting humans rather than nonhuman primates. Using Mountain gorillas as an example, this paper examines the literature and research regarding Mountain gorilla health and welfare in the wild. Drawing on the possible shortcomings of current protocols and the potential health risks of these issues, this paper suggests some avenues for further research and pushes for the development of stronger methods for preventing interspecies disease transmission.
doi:10.3897/biorisk.11.9941 fatcat:h5d2fxeysnc3lbyj6ipuyvvw2e