1995: At the request of the Gorilla Doctors (formerly known as the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project or MGVP) Executive Director, James Foster, DVM, PIC funded the annual salary of a Rwandan veterinarian beginning in 1995 and ending in 2000. This veterinarian provided field veterinary care for mountain gorillas in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
2001: To help protect the gorillas from contracting human diseases, PIC began collaborating with Gorilla Doctors to fund health care programs for more than 400 gorilla trackers and park guards (and their wives) who work in Rwanda. This successful program protects the health of people and wildlife. PIC helped fund the employee health care program for nine years.
2004: In collaboration with Gorilla Doctors, PIC began funding annual salaries for Rwandan caregivers (pictures above) who provided around-the-clock care for 12 young gorillas that were confiscated from poachers in Rwanda and the DRC. The goal of this program is to help ensure the infants’ physical development and their psychological well-being while preparing the gorillas for possible reintroduction to the wild. PIC funded this program from 2004-2009. This program ended in 2010 when the young gorillas were moved to a permanent facility in the DRC.
2010: Working in partnership Gorilla Doctors, PIC is funding salaries for two Rwandan veterinarians that are in charge of providing field veterinary care for the endangered gorillas in Rwanda and the DRC.
During PIC’s annual site visit in 2012, the PIC team met with Dr. Dawn Zimmerman, Regional Veterinary Manager for Gorilla Doctors. Dr. Zimmerman expressed her gratitude to PIC and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for their 21 years of continuous support to help protect and conserve the mountain gorillas.