April 6, 2011
Lubutu Gets an Exam: An Insider's View
As Gorilla Rehabilitation Manager at GRACE, one of my most important duties is to care for each newly confiscated gorilla until it is healthy enough to be introduced to the other gorillas at GRACE and live independently within the group.
Many of our supporters are curious about what happens when an infant gorilla is confiscated. The gorillas are often brought to a specially adapted facility within the UGADEC offices in Goma, DRC, where I meet the traumatized infants for the first time. Unfortunately, today, I am once again in Goma because we received a male infant on Friday, Lubutu.
Monday, Lubutu was anesthetized to enable Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project vets to perform a thorough health examination that took 35 minutes.
I completed the examination chart that included reading the heart, oxygen and respiratory rates at five-minute intervals, while Dr Magda and Dr Eddy took blood, urine and fecal samples along with ear, nose and throat swabs. A written and photographic record of Lubutu’s erupted teeth was taken along with skin scrapes and hair samples.
Because gorillas are very susceptible to human deceases, Lubutu will receive a variety of vaccinations. Monday he received polio, and on Friday will receive measles, mumps, rubella and tetanus.
During his examination he was given an avian tuberculosis test to the left eyelid. The results will be monitored and checked at 24, 48 and 72 hours. If this and the results from the samples prove negative, then Lubutu can hopefully be moved to GRACE over the weekend to start his one-month quarantine period, after which we will integrate him into a group of five other young confiscated orphans. Lubutu will then have the opportunity to learn appropriate gorilla etiquette and vital skills needed to survive in the wild.
After talking with Dr Eddy today, we have agreed to call him “Lubutu Uhuru.” Lubutu is the name of the town where he was discovered. Uhuru is Swahili and means "freedom," which is exactly what we hope to finally give him at GRACE.
Sandy Jones, Confiscated Gorilla Rehabilitation Manager, GRACE