Imagine treating a 200 pound gorilla that’s broken her leg after falling out of tree.

That’s a routine call for Dr. Gaspard and Gorilla Doctors, working in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. On other days Gorilla Doctors will have to treat gorillas injured by snares, hurt during fights between groups, or simple respiratory infections.

Nothing is simple when dealing with a 400pd male silverback who dominates each gorilla group.

Dr. Gaspard will show how to approach them with comforting sounds, and treat them with respect on their territory. We’ll also go on patrol with the parks rangers, responsible for keeping this highly endangered species, and our close cousin from disappearing forever. They are tasked with removing snares and making sure local people are kept onside.

Between 1990 and 2010, Burundi lost 40.5% of its forest cover, or around 117,000 hectares. Illegal tree cutting for charcoal production has been the primary cause, and charcoal burning has become big business in a country that depends almost entirely on this inexpensive fuel source for cooking. But the long-term consequences of deforestation can be dire. By 2040 Burundi will loose all of its forests.

Rwanda earns 305 million dollars a year from gorilla tourism, of which 5% has to be invested in the park.

Website by Appropriate. Photos by Gorilla Doctors.