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, but has grown now to include an entire team of veterinarians who work together to track ailing gorillas, and treat them when needed, in their native habitat. Most recently, it has joined forces with the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center to advance its One Health approach to conservation.
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.
Without the MGVP, mountain gorillas might not exist today. Still, these animals remain highly endangered due to threats from war, poaching, habitat destruction and human disease. Their numbers remain critically low, with no fall back breeding population in sanctuaries or zoos.