Clinical response decision tree for the mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringeii) as a model for great apes

Michael Cranfield, Lynne Gaffikin, Richard Minnis, Felicia Nutter, Innocent Rwego, Dominic Travis, Christopher Whittier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Disease is one of the main threats to the remaining great ape populations of the world. The decision to intervene in the health of the great apes for population sustainability is controversial. Humans' increasing negative influence on great ape health has mandated the reevaluation of current management policies. The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP) has been making health intervention decisions since 1986. The decision to intervene has often been made subjectively due to poorly defined criteria that are often influenced by emotion. This paper provides a consistent framework for evidence-based health intervention decision-making. The decision tree is a five-tier process consisting of routine sentinel health observation, intensive follow-up veterinary health observation, outbreak assessment, risk assessment, and risk management. Although this paper focuses on the mountain gorillas, it serves as a basis for evidence-based decision-making in other species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)909-927
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican journal of primatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Evidence-based decision-making
  • Health intervention
  • Mountain gorilla


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