HOPE Report No6 2004-05-25
Program No.6 (Joint research)
The first conference on "Diseases - the third major threat for
wild Great Apes?" in MPIEVA in Leipzig, Germany.
By Shiho FUJITA
Period: 29 March - 19 April, 2004
Shiho FUJITA Division of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Applied
Biological Sciences, Gifu University JSPS Research Fellow
May 5 - 19, 2004
I attended the first conference on "Disease - the third major
threat for wild Great Apes?" in Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary
Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany, from May 6 to 8, 2004 (see http://www.eva.mpg.de/primat/GreatApesConference04/).
This conference was held to discuss the diseases which are a
serious threat for the last remaining populations of wild living great
apes as well as hunting and loss of habitat. I reported on the results of
monitoring health status of wild chimpanzees by using non-invasive samples
such as urine and feces (see Abstract). I exchanged information about the
technical difficulties of the health monitoring and the possibility of its
improvement with researchers and veterinarians working in various sites.
In the last day of the conference, the participants discussed the
future plan for organizing "Great Ape Health Monitoring Unit (GAHMU)"
in four working groups (hygienic measures, emergency plan, health
monitoring and diagnosis). In each group, the following topics were
discussed; making guidelines for observation of wild Great Apes,
developing a collaborative multi-site health monitoring, making protocol
of emergency response, and making a list of analyzed pathogens and labs
performing the analysis for diagnostic. Finally, we came to agree about
collaborating in health monitoring of wild Great Apes and sharing the
information through web.
After the conference, I visited two institutes, German Primate Centre
(Germany), Equipe d'Ethologie des Primates, CNRS (France) and Appenheul (Netherland).
I reported the studies on the relationship between hormones and behaviours
in Japanese macaques and discussed future collaboration on the comparative
study between macaque species. I also visited Appenhuel where I collected
behavioral data of the monkeys and the apes which are kept in social
A colony of long-tailed macaques for behavioral observation in Equipe d'Ethologie des Primates, CNRS, France.
Enclosure for a social group of gorillas in Appenheul, Netherland.
MONITORING HEALTH STATUS BY USING NON-INVASIVE SAMPLING MEHODS IN WILD
Fujita, S., Asaoka, K., Ogasawara, A., Kageyama, T.
The great apes face many threats to their continued existence in the
wild, one of these threats is disease. Especially in the populations which
are habituated for tourism or research purposes, the great apes are faced
with a high risk of disease transmission from humans. Periodic monitoring
of their health status is necessary. Non-invasive samples such as urine
and feces can be repeatedly obtained from habituated animals without
capturing them and recently the possibility of monitoring health status by
using such samples was reported from several populations. Collecting data
of various examinations by using non-invasive samples from various
populations was useful to know the normal range of animals' conditions. We
collected 633 urinary and 54 fecal samples intermittently in 2001 and 2002
from wild chimpanzees of two populations, Mahale Mountains National Park
in Tanzania and Bossou in Guinea. We used urinary regent strips to check
the physiological status of the chimpanzees. This test measures ketone
bodies, urobilinogen, blood, ascorbic acid, glucose, protein and pH. Fecal
samples were tested to detect Clostridium perfuringens, which is a
bacterium of intestinal microflora and can adversely influence the health
of their animal host when persistently existing at a high proportion to
intestinal microflora. It was possible to detect a small number of the
bacteria by nested PCR procedure. In the urinary strip tests, levels of
ketone bodies and protein fluctuated within an animal. We did not detect
C. perfuringens in most fecal samples. Our results did not show an obvious
incidence of illness in the chimpanzees. It is considered that continuous
health monitoring is important for early finding of an unpredictable