Monitoring Gorillas at the PGFV
As part of our gorilla health monitoring program, the gorilla keepers are trained to document observations (every fifteen minutes) for each individual PGFV gorilla throughout the day on a daily basis. This way, we have been gathering information since January 2007 on:
1. Daily time budgets for feeding (foraging), resting & activity;
2. Daily kilocalorie and water intake;
It is well known that most gorillas instinctively "hide" clinical signs until the final stages of disease. These daily observations, along with other tools, therefore help us monitor the health of each gorilla on a daily basis. At the end of every day, the time budget values are computed by local staff and verbal reports are given by the gorilla keepers to the on-site veterinarian or team-leader. A plan is then devised for the following day in case of any abnormality.
At your right are the average daily time budgets for all PGFV gorillas for 2012. These "reference" values, along with other complementary tools, are what help us ascertain whether a gorilla, on any given day, is okay or may be dealing with a subclinical issue. As a general rule, a (+/-) 5% difference between a gorilla's daily and reference values (a cut-off point that has been arbitrarily chosen) warrants closer attention by the field veterinarian.