Western Lowland Gorillas

We present to you the WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLAS!


Quick Facts

Type: Mammal                                                       Diet: Omnivore (mostly Vegetarian)

Average life span in the wild: 35 years       Size: Standing height, 4 to 6 ft (1.2 to 1.8 m)

Weight: 150 to 400 lbs (68 to 181 kg)               Group name: Troop

Size: Size is relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man

Physical Descriptions

Western lowland gorillas have a brownish-grey coat with a red or auburn crest. Adult males have a patch of whitish hair that extends onto the thighs (silverbacks) and grades into the black body color. They are smaller and lighter than the other gorilla subspecies, with short hair, a wider skull and longer arms. There is also a more pronounced difference between the sexes, with females being almost half the size of silverbacks (adult males).

Location and Distribution

The western lowland gorilla is the most widespread and numerous of the four gorilla subspecies. The western lowland gorilla occurs in the dense and remote rainforests of central Africa, specifically in lowland forest and swamp forest from sea level to about 1,600m. Though they are endangered, they remain far more common than their relatives, the mountain gorillas. They live in heavy rain forests, and it is difficult for scientists to accurately estimate how many survive in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their total population is thought to number up to 100,000 individuals. In some areas they occur in surprisingly high densities – like in remote swamps or areas with dense leafy growth where they’ve been recorded at exceptionally high densities of almost 10 individuals per square kilometer. The forests of Congo (Brazzaville) are currently considered to harbour the major population of western lowland gorillas, which are protected by the remoteness of the large, swampy forest areas.

Social Structures and general activities

Gorillas can climb trees, but are usually found on the ground in communities (troops) of up to 30 individuals. These troops are organized according to fascinating social structures. Troops are led by one dominant, older adult male, often called a silverback because of the swath of silver hair that adorns his otherwise dark fur. Troops also include several other young males, some females, and their offspring.

The leader organizes troop activities like eating, nesting in leaves, and moving about the group’s three-quarter- to 16-square-mile (2- to 40-square-kilometer) home range. Those who challenge this alpha male are apt to be cowed by impressive shows of physical power. He may stand upright, throw things, make aggressive charges, and pound his huge chest while barking out powerful hoots or unleashing a frightening roar. Despite these displays and the animals’ obvious physical power, gorillas are generally calm and nonaggressive unless they are disturbed. Gorillas are very intelligent and have been taught simple sign language in captivity. Like chimpanzees, gorillas have been observed using tools in the wild.



In the thick forests of central and West Africa, troops find plentiful food for their vegetarian diet as they are mainly herbivores. They eat roots, shoots, fruit, wild celery, tree bark and pulp and also pith shoots and leaves. Fruits are an important component of western lowland gorillas’ diet and are consumed according to their seasonal availability. Over 100 fruit species have been recorded in their diet. In drier months, when fruits are scarce, gorillas supplement their diet with the leaves, bark and rotten wood.  They have also been known to eat termites and weaver ants.

Birth and Motherhood:

Western Lowland Gorilla female and juvenile

Female gorillas give birth to one infant after a pregnancy of nearly nine months. Unlike their powerful parents, newborns are tiny—weighing four pounds (two kilograms)—and able only to cling to their mothers’ fur. These infants ride on their mothers’ backs from the age of four months through the first two or three years of their lives. Young gorillas, from three to six years old, remind human observers of children. Much of their day is spent in play, climbing trees, chasing one another, and swinging from branches.


Threats to their existence

western lowland-gorilla_753_600x450

As mentioned before, the western lowland gorillas are endangered. In the wild, these primates are under siege by hunting and trade, habitat loss, forest degradation and diseases particularly Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (Ebola). The forest loss from degradation, farming, grazing, and expanding human settlements is a twofold threat as it destroys gorilla habitat and brings hungry people who hunt gorillas for bushmeat.



Adapted from Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and National Geographic

Tips for obedience in training your Dog

Tips for Obedience in Training Your Dog

There are quite a few dog owners who cannot imagine their lives without their furry and four-legged friends. They admire their companions because of their playful exuberance, unconditional affection, zest for life and loyalty. However, dogs and people are very different. While they are “man’s best friend,” dogs have a number of irksome behaviors, such as jumping to greet someone, barking and chewing that can make it quite difficult to live with them. In order to make the most of the relationship you have with your dog, you have to teach them some important skills. Learning the right way to train your dog will help to improve your life, as well as your dog’s life. It will also help to enhance the bond between you and your pet. The fact is, this training does not have to be all work, it can actually be fun, which will make it more enjoyable for both you and your pet.

Get to Know how Your Dog Learns

One of the most frequent issues that are heard from pet parents is that their dog’s “just don’t listen.” However, think about this from your dog’s point of view. You are essentially speaking a foreign language to them, which means they are not going to pay attention to you for extended periods of time. This means you need to speak to the dog in their “language.” Dogs will learn best when there are immediate consequences for their behavior. The actual consequences selected will determine how they are going to behave in the future.

When they demonstrate positive behavior, they should be rewarded with a treat, playtime or even a belly rub. However, if the behavior is undesirable, then an undesirable consequence should be given – this will help to prevent the dog from repeating the behavior. When you get to know what will help your dog learn, chances are you will be able to expedite the training process. If you don’t take the time to do this, chances are you will not get the desired results for your training efforts.

Rewarding Behavior You Like

There are some methods of obedience training that utilize punishment – such as leash corrections and scolding. This is done in an effort to discourage the dog from doing anything but what you want them to. The other method is to just teach dogs what you want them to do. While both tactics will work, teaching the dog the proper behavior is typically the most effective.

To teach the desired behavior, consider using healthy treats, praise, and games. This eliminates the need for pain and intimidation, which may eventually have detrimental effects on your pet. If your dog exhibits a behavior that you don’t like, then you should take the rewards away. Doing this will discourage any unwanted behavior, without having to use any type of intimidation or pain. Dogs are not extremely complicated or mysterious – they are going to do the action that leads to the reward they want. It may take some time for them to fully grasp the concept, but with consistency, they will perform how you want them to.


Culled from The Happy Pooch

World Veterinary Day Award 2016

Apply for the World Veterinary Day Award 2016

Deadline: 10th May, 2016

To celebrate the World Veterinary Day (WVD) that will take place globally on 30 April 2016, the World Veterinary Association (WVA) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) are organizing the World Veterinary Day Award 2016 to reward the most successful contribution by the veterinary profession on the selected theme for 2016: Continuing Education with a One Health focus. The competition is open to all WVA member associations, alone, or in cooperation with any other selected body. The winner association of the 2016 Award will be presented at the Opening Ceremony of the OIE 84th General Session to be held in Paris, France on 22nd May 2016.

Veterinarians play a crucial role in protecting global health. In all areas of the profession, they have opportunities and responsibilities to improve the health and welfare of animals, and therefore, to improve the health of humans.

In the current era of globalisation, the emergence or re-emergence of unexpected sanitary events is accelerating. It is estimated that five new emerging infectious human diseases appear each year, of which three are zoonotic. The recent Ebola epidemic as well as the too numerous human deaths caused each year by rabies, dreadfully remind us of the strong links existing between the health of people, animals and environment and consequently the need for multi-sectoral approaches illustrated through the ‘One Health’ concept.

All countries depend on the performance of their national Veterinary Services, in their public and private components, not only to successfully control these diseases, but also to tackle food safety issues and to effectively prevent and control any biological disasters. Therefore, veterinarians should be well trained to preserve animal health and welfare, as well as to tackle public health issues.

The organisers will select the winners according to the quality of their project and activities, their ability to raise awareness on the topic, through communications materials and media coverage in their country, as well as their capacity to demonstrate a concrete implementation of the ‘One health’ approach

For the first time this year, entrants have the possibility to present activities that took place before World Veterinary Day 2016, that are still on-going, or that are planned to take place in the future.


All fields in the application form (attached to this document) shall be properly filled out and emailed at secretariat@worldvet.org no later than 10 May 2016.

To apply for this award and for more information about the event, visit World Veterinary Day Award 2016

New Bio Hazard Lab in VOM by NVRI

The National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) Vom has commissioned a new Bio Hazard level 3 laboratory at the institute in VOM. Speaking at the event, Governor Lalong represented by his Deputy Prof. Sunni Tyoden commended Management and Staff of the institute for ensuring that the purpose of the establishment of the institute is realized. He appreciated the Canadian government for partnering with the Federal Government in evolving new vaccines. Lalong noted that with the commissioning of the laboratory, the country is position to conduct rapid safer and secure diagnosis of highly infectious diseases thereby reducing economic loses and death.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh said, NVIRI is key in reviving the agricultural sector in the country in the area of disease control, vaccine and research noting that the laboratory will further reduced Farmer’s loses and improve their yields.

Chairman, senate committee on agriculture Abdullahi Adamu assured the institute of his total support as government is leaving no stone unturned in boosting the agricultural sector.

In their separate goodwill messages, Dean Faculty of Veterinary Medicine University of Jos and former executive Director NVRI Prof. Lami Lombin, Dr. Muhammed Ahmed also a former Director of the institution expressed delight with the establishment of the laboratory as it will go a long way in boosting agriculture and upgrading the economy.

Canadian high commissioner to Nigeria Perry John said with the construction of the Lab, it will ensure early intervention to contained disease outbreaks there by reducing economic losses and death resulting from animal diseases and also prevent zootomic diseases from jumping in to the human population. The Bio Hazard Level 3 laboratory is a facility that provide space for the safe and secure handling of biological agent that belong to risk group pathogens which causes serious human disease and economic losses in animals.

Highlight of the event is the commissioning of the Lab by the Minister of agriculture and rural development Audu Ogbeh who later went on tour of other NVRI facilities in company of dignitaries present.

Culled from Plateau News Online

Avian Influenza – Nigeria’s Follow-up Report


The latest seasonal outbreak of Avian Influenza (H5N1) in Nigeria had its first outbreak report compiled by the Office Internationales des epizootes (OIE) on the 4th of January 2016.

You can find out an updated report of the Avian Influenza outbreak (event 2) here; OIE Updated Report for Avian Influenza in Nigeria

You can also find other existing and updated reports from other countries that have reported the disease here

Zika Virus – WHO updates

Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys through a monitoring network of sylvatic yellow fever. It was subsequently identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. Outbreaks of Zika virus disease have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.

  • Genre: Flavivirus
  • Vector: Aedes mosquitoes (which usually bite during the morning and late afternoon/evening hours)
  • Reservoir: Unknown

Signs and Symptoms

The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) of Zika virus disease is not clear, but is likely to be a few days. The symptoms are similar to other arbovirus infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. These symptoms are usually mild and last for 2-7 days.

Potential complications of Zika virus disease

During large outbreaks in French Polynesia and Brazil in 2013 and 2015 respectively, national health authorities reported potential neurological and auto-immune complications of Zika virus disease. Recently in Brazil, local health authorities have observed an increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome which coincided with Zika virus infections in the general public, as well as an increase in babies born with microcephaly in northeast Brazil. Agencies investigating the Zika outbreaks are finding an increasing body of evidence about the link between Zika virus and microcephaly. However, more investigation is needed to better understand the relationship between microcephaly in babies and the Zika virus. Other potential causes are also being investigated.


Zika virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes aegypti in tropical regions. This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. However, sexual transmission of Zika virus has been described in 2 cases, and the presence of the Zika virus in semen in 1 additional case.

Zika virus disease outbreaks were reported for the first time from the Pacific in 2007 and 2013 (Yap and French Polynesia, respectively), and in 2015 from the Americas (Brazil and Colombia) and Africa (Cabo Verde). In addition, more than 13 countries in the Americas have reported sporadic Zika virus infections indicating rapid geographic expansion of Zika virus.


Infection with Zika virus may be suspected based on symptoms and recent history (e.g. residence or travel to an area where Zika virus is known to be present). Zika virus diagnosis can only be confirmed by laboratory testing for the presence of Zika virus RNA in the blood or other body fluids, such as urine or saliva.


Mosquitoes and their breeding sites pose a significant risk factor for Zika virus infection. Prevention and control relies on reducing mosquitoes through source reduction (removal and modification of breeding sites) and reducing contact between mosquitoes and people.

This can be done by using insect repellent regularly; wearing clothes (preferably light-coloured) that cover as much of the body as possible; using physical barriers such as window screens, closed doors and windows; and if needed, additional personal protection, such as sleeping under mosquito nets during the day. It is extremely important to empty, clean or cover containers regularly that can store water, such as buckets, drums, pots etc. Other mosquito breeding sites should be cleaned or removed including flower pots, used tyres and roof gutters. Communities must support the efforts of the local government to reduce the density of mosquitoes in their locality.

Repellents should contain DEET (N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide), IR3535 (3-[N-acetyl-N-butyl]-aminopropionic acid ethyl ester) or icaridin (1-piperidinecarboxylic acid, 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-methylpropylester). Product label instructions should be strictly followed. Special attention and help should be given to those who may not be able to protect themselves adequately, such as young children, the sick or elderly.

During outbreaks, health authorities may advise that spraying of insecticides be carried out. Insecticides recommended by the WHO Pesticide Evaluation Scheme may also be used as larvicides to treat relatively large water containers.

Travellers should take the basic precautions described above to protect themselves from mosquito bites.


Zika virus disease is usually relatively mild and requires no specific treatment. People sick with Zika virus should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and advice. There is currently no vaccine available.


Culled from World Health Organization (WHO)

Meet Charley and Modupe

Meet Modupe and her brave dog, Charley who cannot be intimidated..

We celebrate …… Charley and Modupe


Name of Owner

Dr. Modupe Akinbobola

Profession and Interests of Owner

Veterinary Doctor

Name of Pet


Description of Pet

Charley is a white male Lhasa Apso. He weighs 10kg and he is 2 feet tall

Interesting things to note

Charley is very alert and aggressive. He is also cuddly, loving and playful. He is also strikingly intelligent.

Caring and grooming routine for your pet

Due to time constraints, He is groomed as frequently as possible. He is fed twice a day and has his bath twice a month.


Impact of the animal so far on your life

He is a very good security dog and a loyal companion. He barks and charges at strangers and other dogs.

There was a particular occasion when I took him on a walk and my neighbor’s massive Caucasian came face to face with him while my neighbor was also taking his dog on a walk; to my amazement Charley charged and barked at the Caucasian and the Caucasian became so frightened that it tripped. The owner was so embarrassed while onlookers where bemused and laughed in astonishment. Although, I have to admit that Charley has no chance of defeating the Caucasian in a fight and I doubt if he would have acted the same way if both dogs were alone. Nonetheless, I left that scene as a very proud owner of Charley. He now has a reputation on my street as a being a small but extremely bold dog.

He is also extremely intelligent. Whenever I let him out of his room and give him food, he doesn’t eat it immediately but rather creeps up behind me when I leave his room to ascertain my motive (to him I want to use the food to lure him back to the room and lock him up). As soon as he sees that I am far away from the room, he quickly rushes back to the room to eat his food and constantly gazes at the open door to see if I am close by. As soon as he sees me he rushes out and repeats the same routine until he finishes his meal.

Advice for aspiring and current animal lovers

Be kind to your pet, groom your pet often, give your pet water to drink at all times, feed your pet often, show your pet love (believe me they notice if you don’t) and most importantly take your pet on walks.

Meet Dr. Dare

Our Professional of the Month is a vibrant and intelligent Veterinary Doctor enjoins everyone to work in their area of passion.

We celebrate…..  Dr. Dare


Full Name

MORAKINYO, Oluwadamilare Akinwale

Educational Qualifications:

I acquired my DVM degree in 2007 from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in University of Ibadan. Subsequently in 2010, I completed a Masters degree (MSc) in Epizootiology from the same University.

Profession and place of Work

I currently work at Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IARnT), located at Moor Plantation in Ibadan, Nigeria. I am a Research Fellow (Veterinary Medicine) at the research institution and I work mostly on the Livestock Improvement Program. I also work as a Veterinary Clinician on the Institute’s Farm.

Impact of what you do on animal and human health

One of the major area of my work is disease outbreak investigation using Participatory techniques. Participatory techniques involve core engagement and involvement of the target population (farmers, community members, workers) and stakeholders in undertaking research and development projects and programs. This allows for effective partnership and ownership which eventually promotes a more efficient and rapid investigation process. Eventually, this helps for a better disease control process thus promoting the health of the livestock and improving the livelihoods of the livestock farmers.

Prospective future work

Improving availability, accessibility and affordability of animal health care to least served communities particularly in rural areas through the conceptualization and implementation of the Primary Animal Healthcare (PAHC) Model with the use of Community Animal Health Workers (CAHW).

Hobbies and interests

Reading and Thinking

Advice for aspiring professionals

Discover your passion and follow it. It will be your passion that will keep you going when everything around you seems to not be working.

How you be contacted?

I  can be contacted via daremorakinyo@gmail.com

INSA JRD- Tata Fellowship Programme: Extending facilities of Scientific Infrastructure and Expertise


INSA JRD- Tata Fellowship Programme: Extending facilities of Scientific Infrastructure and Expertise

Deadline: 30 April 2016

Indian National Science Academy (INSA) is seeking applications for its INSA JRD- Tata Fellowship Programme with a purpose to extend facilities of scientific infrastructure and expertise of India to scientists and researchers from other developing countries. INSA, a premier scientific organization in India representing all branches of Science and Technology, has instituted the INSA JRD- Tata Fellowship in honour of the late JRD Tata, visionary and a leading industrialist. The INSA JRD- Tata Fellowship is coordinated by the Centre for International Co-operation in Science (CICS). The Fellowship has been established from an Endowment received from Sir Dorabji Tata Trust with the aim of providing advanced research training to scientists from other developing countries and to promote south-south co-operation.

Scope – The Fellowship provides an opportunity for young scientists, teachers and researchers from the developing countries to undertake research studies in India. It covers short-term, participatory research studies in all major disciplines of science and technology including engineering and medical sciences at premier research institutions in India. The Fellowship awardees are provided considerable freedom in availing the opportunity and formulating the contents of their research work in India.

The Fellowship covers the following covers the cost of return airfare from place of work in their home country to place of work in India; maintenance allowance and incidentals for three months; accommodation to be provided by the host institute either free of cost or at nominal charges; contingency grant for purchase of books and stationery.

Eligibility Criteria
1. The Fellowship is intended for researchers (Nationals) from developing countries except India, who have aptitude for research and would be desirous of working in an Indian research laboratory for a maximum period of 3 months.
2. Applicants possessing Doctorate or Master´s Degree in Science or equivalent degree in Engineering/Medicine and allied disciplines.
3. Applicants must below 45 years of age.
4. Applicant must possess a valid passport.
5. Applicant must have acceptance from the Indian Host Institution for his research training in India under INSA JRD-TATA Fellowship (as per the format).
Applications should be forwarded by the competent authority. Selected candidates must obtain permission from their parent institutions for undergoing training in India. Selected candidates must obtain Indian Visa for the proposed period of research upon advice from CICS.

How to Apply
Interested applicants can download the application form via given website here.