Dr. Mike Cranfield
Dr. Mike has led the Gorilla Doctors team for 15 years, splitting his time between overseeing operations in Africa, fundraising on the road, and administering the project from his base at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. He was one of the first veterinarians to embrace the One Health concept for great ape conservation, and worked to establish Gorilla Doctors with the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, where he is a staff veterinarian. Originally from Peterborough, Ontario, Dr. Mike obtained his doctorate of veterinary medicine at the University of Guelph in 1977 and completed his residency at the Toronto Zoo. He later moved to the Maryland Zoo where, in addition to his clinical duties, he pursued research on avian malaria in penguins, parasitic diseases in snakes, in vitro fertilization in lion-tailed macaques, and captive breeding of endangered frog species. In 1999, after realizing that work with captive animals was not enough to preserve some species, Mike took on the leadership of Gorilla Doctors.

Dr. Kirsten Gilardi
Dr. Kirsten joined Gorilla Doctors in 2009 as co-director at the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center (WHC), which is a self-supporting research, service and teaching Center of Excellence at the School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Kirsten works closely with Dr. Mike on managing all aspects of Gorilla Doctors, including gorilla health research and on the PREDICT wildlife disease surveillance project. As co-director of the WHC, Dr. Kirsten splits her time between managing Gorilla Doctors and other WHC projects, such as the SeaDoc Society and PREDICT. After graduating from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1993, she completed a 3-year residency in primate medicine at UC Davis before joining the WHC in 1998. Dr. Kirsten is board-certified by the American College of Zoological Medicine.
Dr. Eddy Kambale
Head Veterinarian, Democratic Republic of Congo
Dr. Eddy has worked as our DRC Field Veterinarian since 2004 and was promoted to Head Veterinarian of DRC in 2011. Dr. Eddy’s duties include monitoring both the mountain and Grauer’s gorilla populations in DRC and caring for the mountain gorilla orphans at the Senkwekwe sanctuary. He also occasionally assists with veterinary operations in Rwanda and Uganda. He received his veterinary degree at the Catholic University of Graben, Butembo, in the DRC. Before joining the MGVP, he was a scholar at the Technical Institute for Agriculture and Veterinary Science in Butembo, DRC.
Dr. Fred Nizeyimana
Field Veterinarian, Uganda
Dr. Fred joined Gorilla Doctors in 2010 and serves as our Field Veterinarian in Uganda, performing routine health checks and interventions in Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks. While studying veterinary medicine at Makerere University in Kampala, he participated in a mountain gorilla research project funded by Gorilla Doctors. After graduating in 2005, Dr. Fred worked as the acting project manager for the Kibale Eco-health Project in Kibale National Park. In 2007, he volunteered at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary and was later promoted to the role of sanctuary manager and veterinarian.
Dr. John Bosco Nizeyi
Capacity Development Coordinator
Dr. John Bosco is Gorilla Doctors’ research veterinarian, and a professor in the Wild Animal Resource Management Department of Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Dr. JBN (he’s known by his initials) has worked for Gorilla Doctors since 1993, originally serving as our Uganda Field Veterinarian. At Makerere, Dr. JBN mentors the next generation of African veterinarians and conducts research, including on the use of fecal cortisol to monitor stress levels in wild animals. He received his veterinary degree at Makerere, his Master of Science degree in recreational resources from Colorado State University, and his PhD in Veterinary Medicine at Makerere in 2005.
Dr. Benard Ssebide
Uganda Head Veterinarian and PREDICT Country Coordinator, Uganda
Our Uganda in-country field veterinarian from 2007 to 2010, Dr. Benard now heads up our PREDICT work in Uganda, looking for evidence of emerging zoonotic viruses in primates, rodents, bats and other wild animals in Uganda. Prior to joining Gorilla Doctors, he worked for the Ugandan Wildlife Authority, first as a veterinarian and then as Chief Park Warden of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Dr. Benard received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Science degrees in wildlife health and management from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.
Dr. Julius Nziza
PREDICT Country Coordinator, Rwanda
Dr. Julius joined Gorilla Doctors in May 2010 to oversee our PREDICT work in and around Rwanda’s three national parks. Before coming to Gorilla Doctors, Dr. Julius worked for the Department of Tourism and Conservation of the Rwanda Development Board for 3 years, serving as the veterinary warden at Nyungwe National Park in the southwestern corner of Rwanda. While Rwandan by nationality, Dr. Julius was born in Uganda and obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.
Dr. Jean Bosco Noheri
Field Veterinarian, Rwanda
Dr. Jean Bosco Noheli, known as Dr. Noel, joined Gorilla Doctors in 2009 to run our clinical laboratory at regional headquarters in Musanze, Rwanda. In that position, he processed samples collected in the field, managed our drug and medical supplies inventory, and assisted in necropsies and non-primate surgeries. He also assisted with health monitoring and interventions performed in the field and in the care of the orphans at our Kinigi quarantine facility. In 2012, Dr. Noel was promoted to the position of Field Veterinarian for Rwanda where he assists with monitoring and care for mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Dr. Noel received his veterinary degree from the Higher Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (ISAE)-Busogo in 2010.

Dr. Martin Kabuyaya Balyananziu

Field Veterinarian, 

Democratic Republic of Congo

Dr. Martin joined Gorilla Doctors in 2012 to work with Dr. Eddy to provide veterinary care to DRC’s mountain and Grauer’s gorillas and the orphans at the Senkwekwe Center. Previously, Dr. Martin managed the serological service for the veterinary laboratory in Goma, DRC, and taught anatomy and animal science courses at Kivu University.  A native of Goma, Dr. Martin received his veterinary medicine degree from the University of Lubumbashi in 2009.

Jean-Paul Lukusa
Employee Health Program Manager
As the Manager of the Employee Health Program, Jean-Paul coordinates doctors visits, laboratory testing, follow-up care, and family health education for hundreds of conservation works in Rwanda, Uganda, and DRC each year. Before joining Gorilla Doctors in 2003, Jean-Paul taught at the ESSA Ruhengeri medical school in Rwanda. Jean-Paul has a degree in microbiology from L’Institute Superior Medicale and a degree in public health from the University Ouverte, both located in DRC, his home country.

Dr. Ricky Okwir
Field Veterinarian, Uganda

Dr. Ricky joined Gorilla Doctors in 2014 to work with Dr. Benard and Dr. Fred to provide veterinary care for mountain gorillas and field assistance to the PREDICT project. Previously, Dr. Ricky worked for the Smithsonian Institution on the PREDICT project as its Field Coordinator for the Animal Mortality Monitoring Program in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Prior to that, Dr. Ricky spent one year as a veterinary intern at Budongo Conservation Field Station in the Chimpanzee Health Monitoring Program. Dr. Ricky earned his veterinary degree at Makerere University in 2011 and is working on his on-line Master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr. Jacques Iyanya

Administrator, Democratic Republic of Congo 

For seven years, Dr. Jacques served alongside Dr. Eddy as a DRC Field Veterinarian before moving into an administrative role in 2012. As our Administrator in the DRC, Dr. Jacques frequently travels to Kinshasa, the capital of DRC, to liaise with our partners at the L'Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN). Dr. Jacques received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Lubumbashi in DRC, and then worked for the Department of Agriculture and Development in the eastern part of the country before joining Gorilla Doctors.

Schadrack Niyonzima
Administrator, Rwanda
Schadrack works as the Administrator at our Musanze headquarters and has been a vital member of the team since joining Gorilla Doctors in 2009. Thanks to his management and business savvy, Gorilla Doctors' local operations run smoothly. Schadrack received his degree in management and accounting from the Adventist University for Central Africa in Rwanda, and has 5 years of experience working with other international NGOs.

Clementine Usanase
Data Clerk, Rwanda
As the Gorilla Doctors Data Clerk for Rwanda, Clementine enters the IMPACT data collected in the field by veterinarians and park rangers. After completing primary and secondary school in Musanze, Clementine worked with the Gorilla Doctors as an Administrative Assistant in 2008. With her degree in Electronics and Information Technology completed, Clementine joined the Gorilla Doctors as the full time Data Clerk in October 2012.

Dr. Linda Lowenstine
Veterinary Pathologist
Dr. Linda is a board certified Veterinary Pathologist who has worked with Gorilla Doctors since 1987 examining tissues and determining causes of death in mountain gorillas examined post mortem by the Gorilla Doctors. She is also a member of the Gorilla Doctors Science Advisory Committee. At UC Davis, Dr. Linda serves as a Professor of Veterinary Pathology, where she specializes in the pathology of captive and free-living wild animals. After graduation from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1973, Dr. Linda completed a comparative pathology residency during which she trained at the New England National Primate Research Center and the National Zoological Park. This was followed by a PhD in Comparative Pathology from UC Davis while she was staff pathologist at the California National Primate Research Center.

Jess Burbridge
Director of Marketing and Communications
Jess is dedicated to publicizing the work of Gorilla Doctors through photography, multimedia, writing, and social media. She also manages our website and public relations efforts, and coordinates logistics for visiting filmmakers and journalists. Prior to joining the Gorilla Doctors, Jess was based in Rwanda as the Field Communications Officer for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. Through her work with the Fossey Fund, she traveled Rwanda and DR Congo extensively and developed an intimate knowledge of the Karisoke-monitored mountain gorillas. She has worked as a photojournalist in Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, DR Congo and Kenya and has a special interest in great ape conservation. Jess graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Photography and is currently completing a Masters of Communication at the Johns Hopkins University.

Jennifer Sohl
Bio Bank Manager and Registered Veterinary Technician
From her base at the Maryland Zoo where she serves as Clinical Laboratory Manager and Veterinary Technician, Jennifer manages the archive of mountain gorilla samples and tissues collected in Africa. She also assists Dr. Mike with many tasks, including inventorying, procuring, and packing medicine and supplies to be used Africa. Jennifer has worked for Gorilla Doctors since 2002. She earned a BS in Animal Science from Virginia Tech and has worked as a Registered Veterinary Technician since 1994.

Desiree Aguiar
Development Assistant

Based at the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center One Health Institute, Desiree works closely on development and marketing strategies for several programs, and communicates directly with donors of Gorilla Doctors. Desiree also assists Gorilla Doctors Co-Director Dr. Kirsten Gilardi in planning and donor relations efforts. Desiree is from Modesto, California, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies with emphasis in Public Relations from California State University, Sacramento.

Leon Ntahobavukira
Rwanda House Manager & Cook
Gorilla Doctors’ second longest-standing employee (after Dr. JBN), Leon has served as the house manager and chef at our Rwanda headquarters for 17 years. Leon’s homemade meals have given generations of Gorilla Doctors the energy needed for long days in the field and office.

Gorilla Orphan Caretakers
Gorilla Doctors employs a team of dedicated caretakers to look after confiscated gorillas held at our quarantine facility in Kinigi, Rwanda. The caretakers include Innocent Kabendera and Dieudonnee Munyembabazi.

Rwandan Support Staff
Our PREDICT program is supported by Administrative Assistants Sandrine Umubyeyi and Sylvia Nakimera in Rwanda and Uganda, respectively. Felicien Mulinda, Faustin Nemeye, and Samuel Nshimiyimana work as guards and grounds staff at the regional headquarters in Musanze, Rwanda. Jean-Claude Rusengamihigo, Michel Mwemezi, and Innocent Barimenshi perform a similar function at the interim quarantine facility (IQF) for orphaned gorillas in Kinigi, Rwanda.

UC Davis Wildlife Health Center Staff
Gorilla Doctors is also supported by a team of dedicated staff at the UC Davis Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center (WHC) which is overseen by Directors Dr. Kirsten and Dr. Mike Ziccardi. WHC is an integral component of the One Health Institute, directed by Dr. Jonna Mazet. WHC staff include Matt Blake, Elizabeth Leasure, Courtney Chambers, and Lori Faherty.