Research>Research Excellence Framework 2021>Impact Case Study - International Primate Heart Project

Exercise scientists’ impact on the health, welfare and survival of critically endangered great apes: The International Primate Heart Project (IPHP)

​​ Dr Aimee Drane and Prof. Rob Shave


Drane and Shave worked with European zoos, great ape sanctuaries in Africa and Indonesia, and international veterinary organisations to improve understanding, diagnosis and management of heart disease in critically endangered great apes. They assessed cardiac health in 543 apes, provided professional development for 200 veterinary professionals from 80 institutions across 35 countries; assisted animal selection for the World’s largest ever chimpanzee re-introduction programme; and, produced Pan African Sanctuary Alliance professional veterinary guidelines - collectively contributing to the survival of the species.

“The scan and other tests were carried out on Kumbuka, a 15-year-old adult silverback lowland gorilla. ​Great apes tend to live longer in zoos, prompting questions about whether their cardiac problems could be linked to a more sedentary lifestyle. Subtle differences in human and great ape hearts could also help to explain how the human heart may have evolved.”

Extract from BBC News

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