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The Maryland Zoo of Baltimore has honored Gorilla Doctors Director Dr. Mike Cranfield with the 2012 Michael D. Hankin Award for Conservation. Named for the former Chairman of the zoo's Board of Trustees, it was created in 2005 to be awarded to individuals who continue the legacy of conservation, volunteerism and philanthropy. The inaugural award was given to Michael Hankin himself and has since been awarded in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011.
Dr. Cranfield travelled to The Maryland Zoo to receive the award with other staff from Gorilla Doctors. He has worked as Director of Gorilla Doctors for amost 15 years. Gorilla Doctors is dedicated to saving the lives of endangered mountain and Grauer’s gorillas in Africa through emergency veterinary medicine.
The President of the Maryland Zoo said of Dr. Cranfield 'We are so honored to present this award to Dr. Mike. His professional and personal commitment to the health, wellness and conservation of endangered species has spanned three decades. He has devoted a significant amount of this time to Gorilla Doctors, even while serving as the Chief Veterinarian here at The Maryland Zoo. His knowledge of exotic animal medicine and his dedication to enhancing the lives of animals both in zoos and in the wild is exceptional.'
It was in 1998 that he became the Executive Director of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP), which saw it expand its mission to include health programs for more gorilla species in more locations across Central Africa, including the mountain and Grauer’s gorillas living in Uganda and the DRC. In 2006 the MGVP began a new journey, gaining non-profit status based at the Maryland Zoo where Dr. Cranfield had previously worked. In 2009 the opportunity to partner with the Wildlife Health Centre at the University of California and now the two together run Gorilla Doctors.
Dr. Cranfield received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Guelph in Ontario and spent his residency at Toronto Zoo. After this he moved to Maryland Zoo before then becoming involved with the MGVP. He has published more than 100 professional articles and abstracts and contributed to nine books and is now an instrumental figure in the rise of mountain gorilla numbers in Uganda and Rwanda.
To visit the mountain gorillas of Uganda and Rwanda and see the fantastic work that Dr. Cranfield and his team do on a daily basis, book a safari today with Volcanoes Safaris. Contact a member of our sales team for more information.
Tracking chimpanzees in their natural habitat, as they swing from the branches in the canopy high above the forest floor is nothing short of exhilarating. The chimps effortlessly cross and scamper through the trees above the gorge, and visitors on the other hand must cross the river using natural bridges in order to keep up with the chimps. So although the walk usually lasts only 2–3 hours, descending the steep gorge and crossing the log bridges over the river requires some agility and fitness.
Chimpanzee tracking is also available in nearby Kalinzu, a forest reserve 30 minutes drive from Kyambura Gorge Lodge where there is a community of about 40 habituated chimpanzees.