Meet the Vets Risking Their Lives to Treat Wild Gorillas

Negotiating with rebels and being charged by silverbacks is just another day on the job for the Gorilla Doctors.

GOMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo—Trackers swing their machetes at the thick jungle, and veterinarians Eddy Kambale and Martin Kabuyaya follow behind, armed with cameras and clipboards. The tangled vines hide the forest's many dangers: poachers, rebels, and herds of wild elephants.

After a few hours, a path of trampled brush leads to a clearing where a group of mountain gorillas have made their nests for the day. A silverback chomps on handfuls of leaves in the shade, and babies swing between trees. The vets snap pictures and scribble down notes.

Every month Kambale and Kabuyaya trek into the jungles of Virunga National Park in the volatile eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to assess each gorilla’s health. They identify any injuries that may require treatment and, if necessary, perform surgery.

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