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Great Ape Health Monitoring Unit
Animal Welfare Agency
Information Agency or Museum
Web Site:


Mission: The Great Ape Health Monitoring Unit is (GAHMU) is a network of researchers from different disciplines concerned about diseases of great apes. Its main feature is an interdisciplinary approach, connecting field workers with veterinarians and medical scientists to obtain knowledge about infectious diseases and transmission of pathogens in wild great apes. The aims are protecting the health of great ape populations, with recent Ebola and other outbreaks among great ape populations demonstrating that diseases must also be considered a major threat to their extinction, providing information about risks of emerging infectious diseases to humans and understanding disease evolution and its impact on primate evolution. GAHMU will aid in this progress by providing drafts for health care plans, outbreak protocols, and by promoting the development and use of new, non-invasive methods of monitoring the health of wild great apes, and in cases of death, effective methods to identify the causative pathogens.

Clientele: Field sites studying great apes /// Medical scientists interested in the non-invasive study of great ape diseases

Principal Research Programs: We are currently engaged in two concrete projects: a) Creating a 'Great Ape Task Force', an emergency group of experienced veterinarians to support field sites when great apes are showing sever symptoms or cases of deaths are observed. b) Obtaining data on pathogens of different great ape populations. Different laboratories will screen non-invasive samples for a set of pathogens. This study involves a number of great ape field-sites, and additional data will be obtained there to analyze the effect of parameters like climate, inter-species contact or environmental disruption on disease transmission.

Supported Species: Gorilla beringei (eastern gorilla), Gorilla gorilla (western gorilla), Pan paniscus (bonobo), Pan troglodytes (common chimpanzee), Pongo pygmaeus (Bornean orangutan)

Publications: The website provides a forum for the exchange of information relevant to this topic.

Last Updated: 2006-07-26

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