Gorilla Doctors

Gorilla Doctors is the only organization in the world dedicated to conserving mountain and eastern lowland (Grauer's) gorillas through veterinary medicine, science and a One Health approach. 

The life-saving work of our veterinarians is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic and we appreciate your support as we continue to protect the health of these endangered animals.

The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP) is dedicated to saving the lives of critically-endangered mountain gorillas.

Our international team of veterinarians, the Gorilla Doctors, is the only group providing wild mountain gorillas with direct, hands-on care.

Q: What kinds of volunteers is MGVP interested in?

* Medical and other professionals such as veterinarians, physicians, public health workers, agricultural experts, and engineers.

* Medical, Veterinary and Agricultural students wishing to contribute to ongoing research projects.

* Others who have skills or interest to help with administrative tasks, etc.


Q: Do volunteers get to work directly with the gorillas?

A: Volunteers do not accompany veterinarians or behavioral researchers into the park because access to mountain gorillas is strictly controlled by the conservation offices of the three countries in which we work.


Q: What projects are available for volunteers?

A: There are many ways in which volunteers can contribute to the MGVP. For example, the MGVP is involved in improving domestic animal, public health, and employee and community health and other wildlife through special initiatives in the areas surrounding the park. MGVP has also started promoting a model farm initiative in the region. Volunteers will also be utilized to aid in capacity building of the region. Medical and Veterinary Technicians volunteers may help with gorilla related projects in the lab. Administrative and computer data entry volunteers are also welcome. Other avenues of volunteerism will be considered on a case by case basis, and MGVP may direct an interested person to another one of our collaborators who may be a better fit.


The following are ongoing projects that MGVP is involved in where we can utilize the skills of volunteers:

* Spay/neuter program for cats and dogs in the area.

* Help with rabies vaccination program, autumn of each year.

* Help with farm partner program – fecals, deworming programs, health checks on livestock. Ongoing.

* Ride with Sector Vets (for veterinarians, technicians, vet or tech students only) – sector veterinarians respond to veterinary needs in the rural sectors around the park. Ongoing.

* Volunteer at local human medical clinics (MD, nurses and medical or nursing students only). Ongoing.

* Help with Employee Health Program administration. Annually in DRC and Rwanda.

* Ground water evaluation for Crypto/Giardia. The goal would be to test the hypothesis of seasonal influence on presence of the organisms. This would be useful to validate previous studies which occurred at a snapshot moment in time as well as serve as a base for planning future studies.

* Disease surveillance at small markets where 1 or 2 animals are harvested weekly within 3k of the park. These animals would be under two years of age and reflect the current disease exposure. The information would reflect how prevalence changes over time.

* Paperwork organization and filing is needed at MGVP headquarters. Ongoing.


Q: Does MGVP have funding for volunteers?

A: The MGVP does not have funding to support volunteers or for specific projects.


Q: What costs are involved with volunteering for MGVP?

A: Volunteers are responsible for their round trip flight to Kigali, ground transport to/from Kigali to Ruhengeri and $200/month room and board (breakfast and lunch) while staying in the MGVP compound in Ruhengeri. The compound is simple but comfortable with electricity and plumbing, and intermittent internet access. Volunteers are advised to bring an additional $25-100/week to cover costs of local transportation, meals outside the compound, and miscellaneous purchases. Volunteers are encouraged to see the gorillas while they are here by booking a trek with a tour company; the fee is $500 and well worth the cost!


Q: What time frame is involved in volunteering?

A: Volunteers are required to stay a minimum of 4 weeks.


Q: How do I go about applying for a volunteer position?

A: If you are interested in volunteering, please email a letter of intent (which should specify interests or project ideas, and any available funding to ensure project implementation).


Q: I really want to help, but cannot volunteer at this time. How else might I be of service to the mountain gorillas

A: We always welcome funds to help support our effort, since the medical care of gorillas is extremely expensive. Donations can most easily be made via our website.

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