Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka: "Conserving Gorillas Through a One Health Approach"
Talk link: https://youtu.be/8xHNO7goYlc
Talk abstract: Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) is a grassroots NGO and non-profit founded in 2003 that promotes biodiversity conservation by enabling people to co-exist with wildlife through improving animal health, community health and livelihoods in and around Africa’s protected areas and wildlife rich habitats. CTPH developed three integrated programs: Wildlife Conservation through improving wildlife health and habitat conservation; Community Health through engaging Village Health and Conservation Teams and Community Conservation Animal Health Workers and Alternative Livelihoods through a social enterprise, Gorilla Conservation Coffee, and group livestock income generating projects.
CTPH built upon these programs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. By working with Uganda Wildlife Authority and other NGOs, great ape viewing guidelines were improved to prevent transmission of COVID-19 between people and from people to gorillas. Park staff were trained to put on protective face masks and enforce a 10-metre great ape viewing distance and hand hygiene. The same training was provided to Human and Gorilla Conflict Resolution Teams who herd gorillas back to the park from community land and Village Health and Conservation Teams who promote good hygiene and sanitation, infectious disease prevention and control, family planning, nutrition, sustainable agriculture, gorilla and forest conservation.
In the absence of tourism, a new distributor in UK, enabled Gorilla Conservation Coffee to buy coffee from farmers around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, reducing their need to poach. Increased poaching led to the killing of a gorilla by a community member hunting duiker and bush pigs. As a result, CTPH resumed supporting reformed poachers and started a new emergency food relief program to provide fast growing seedlings to vulnerable community members.
CTPH successfully advocated to the Ministry of Health for priority vaccination for people who closely interact with great apes and is advocating for responsible great ape tourism to Governments, donors and tour companies through the Africa CSO Biodiversity Alliance.