Patterns of intestinal parasitism in the mountain gorilla Gorilla gorilla in the Bwindi-Impenetrable Forest, Uganda



The intestinal parasite fauna of the mountain gorillas of Bwindi—Impenetrable Forest, Uganda was studied by means of faecal examination and a single post-mortem. The fauna was remarkably uniform between social groups and individuals, showing only slight differences between age groups; there is no evidence of any interaction between the parasites observed. The only protozoa were entodiniomorph ciliates; amoebae and flagellates were absent. Helminths included a single host-specific cestode species and at least five nematodes, three of which are hostspecific. The closest relatives of the host-specific parasites are found in ungulates and paenungulates, not in hosts phylogenetically related to the gorilla.

This unique and specialized parasite fauna deserves to be monitored so that any effects of the habituation of the gorillas for tourism can be assessed.