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November 20, 2020

Save endangered gorillas through public health

topic: Conservation
type: Donation, NGO, Project, Volunteering
by: Yair Oded

As the world grapples with contemporaneous crises of public health, environmental degradation, wildlife annihilation, and economic insecurity - it becomes clear that tackling these issues successfully requires a comprehensive approach that recognises their interconnectedness and addresses them simultaneously.

Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) is a nonprofit organisation working to guarantee conservation of endangered wildlife species in Uganda by highlighting the interdependence of human health and the survival of wildlife and ecosystems.

Founded by Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka - a leading conservationist and scientist - CTPH’s is primarily focused on protecting the endangered mountain gorillas in East Africa by improving the health of wildlife and ecosystems as well as of humans and their livestock in and around protected areas in Africa. 

At present, many underserved, isolated, and vulnerable communities in Africa live in protected areas, and their lifestyles often result in the degradation of wildlife and ecosystems, which, ultimately, undermines the safety and wellbeing of the communities themselves. “Land encroachment, competition for food, and the spread of zoonotic disease between people, wildlife and livestock are all grim everyday realities,” CTPH states on its website. 

In order to tackle this issue, CTPH has developed a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to control the spreading of diseases between genetically related species (such as human and gorillas) and promote an overall better quality of life in communities living in areas of protected wildlife in order to decrease their dependence on “fragile” habitats in order to survive. 

Placing a special focus on women in its work, the organisation runs three main programs: Gorilla Conservation - an initiative seeking to protect Africa’s endangered gorillas by monitoring gorilla health and increasing community awareness and sensitivity toward them, by among other methods, reducing illegal poaching and harvesting of timber in forests and promoting the use of clean energy; One Health - a program that promotes human, animal, and ecosystem health through a holistic approach combining veterinarians, medical and public health professionals and environmentalists; and Alternative Livelihoods - a program developing sustainable, income-generating livestock projects that rely on community volunteers. 

The organisation also engages in advocacy work and research, publishes reports, and provides resources. 

How can you help?

CTPH is looking for volunteers to help out with its programs, and is on the lookout for researchers and interns. You’ll find more details about the programs and how to inquire about them on the organisation’s website

If travelling is possible, you may choose to join one of CTPH’s tours: gorilla trekking and their coffee safari tour, which explores how the organisation’s coffee supports local farmers and protects the mountain gorillas. 

You may also support them by making a donation or visiting CTPH’s online store

Image: mdmove1962.