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A View From the Field: Chimps in Uganda

In recent years, infectious diseases have threatened the health of Africa’s endangered apes. Social interactions and behaviors may play a role in spreading disease among wild primates, but very few scientists have looked into these relationships.

As part of a dual degree program at the University of Georgia, Dr. Julie Rushmore recently spent a year in Uganda observing the social behaviors of a community of wild chimpanzees to determine the links between social interactions and disease, particularly sexually transmitted diseases.

This Morris Animal Foundation–funded work will provide crucial information for developing management strategies to protect apes in the event of a disease epidemic.

“Understanding what diseases currently exist in nonhuman primates can help prevent future transfer of diseases between humans and wildlife,” says Dr. Rushmore.

(Photo: Foundation-funded researcher Dr. Julie Rushmore in Kibale National Park in Uganda, where she studied chimpanzee behavior.)

Posted by MAF on October 8, 2012.

Categories: Animal health, Veterinary research , Wildlife health


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