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Focus on Women: Ugandan Finds Calling as a “Gorilla Doctor”

Dr Rachael MGVPAid for Africa member Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP) has a new veterinarian–Dr. Racheal Mbabazi.  Racheal graduated from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, in 2010 with a degree in veterinary medicine.   Racheal grew up in Kabale in south western Uganda with her two brothers and three sisters.  She initially wanted to be a medical doctor, but began to study veterinary medicine on a government sponsorship.  Racheal said that when she took her a course in wildlife medicine, “I discovered what I really wanted to do as a veterinarian.”  She trained with a MGVP research veterinarian and studied gastrointestinal parasites in mountain gorillas on a scholarship from the Morris Animal Foundation—a MGVP partner.

Now one of the Gorilla Doctors, as MGVP veterinarians are known, Racheal conducts field work in Uganda as part of the PREDICT global campaign to identify the emergence of new infectious diseases in wildlife that could pose a major threat to human health. Gorilla Doctors in Rwanda and Uganda are leading the effort.

Rachael said, “My favorite part working with MGVP is the people I work with–they are great people who care about the gorillas and are willing to teach everything there is to know.”  She said that in the short time she has worked as a Gorilla Doctor, it “already feels like family.”

MGVP is dedicated to saving the lives of critically-endangered mountain gorillas. Their international team of veterinarians, the Gorilla Doctors, is the only group providing wild mountain gorillas with direct, hands-on care.