Gorillas face a myriad of human pressures, including habitat loss and degradation, poaching, disease and civil unrest. These and other factors add cumulative stress to individuals and groups of gorillas that contribute to disease, reproductive failure and early death, adding to their risk for extinction. Researchers, in collaboration with the Gorilla Doctors in Rwanda, will use a tool called allostatic load, a measurement of accumulated wear and tear on the body over time, to predict and monitor factors associated with stress in wild eastern gorilla. Findings will help researchers identify gorillas at higher risk of disease and other health issues and inform strategies to reduce stressors associated with declines in this critically endangered species.
Grant amount awarded
Dawn Zimmerman, DVM, MS