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Gorilla Doctor Named Recipient of a 2014 ROLEX Award for Enterprise

Musanze, Rwanda – WEBWIRE
Dr. Olivier Nsengimana, Gorilla Doctors Field Veterinarian.
Dr. Olivier Nsengimana, Gorilla Doctors Field Veterinarian.

June 24, 2014
Muzanze, Rwanda –  Dr. Olivier Nsengimana, Field Veterinarian for the Gorilla Doctors in Rwanda, was awarded the prestigious 2014 ROLEX Awards for Enterprise. Dr. Olivier and the four other Young Laureates, hailing from Africa, India, Europe and the Middle East, attended a ceremony today in London, where they received the award.
“This year’s Young Laureates - aged 30 and under - impress by both their leadership qualities and in their ability to harness technology in an original way to improve the well-being of the community and the environment, as well as to advance scientific knowledge” said Ms. Anne-Sophie de Guigne of ROLEX. “The programme recognizes enterprising men and women who are using their talents and initiative to change the world in five broad areas: science and health, applied technology, the environment, exploration and discovery, and cultural heritage.”
A jury of eight scientists, environmentalists, conservationists, and social entrepreneurs convened in Geneva, Switzerland to select five of the twenty-two finalists to be awarded the 2014 ROLEX Award for Enterprise. Over 1,800 young visionaries were nominated from around the world.
Dr. Nsengimana is a native of Gitarama, Rwanda and graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Higher Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (ISAE) - Busogo. In 2010, he began his work with Gorilla Doctors, which is a partnership between the non-profit Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project and the University of California, Davis. For the past 3 years, Nsengimana has worked alongside Dr. Julius Nziza, the Gorilla Doctors’ coordinator for its contributions to the USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT project, conducting surveillance for viruses in wildlife that could pose a threat to human health in and around Rwanda’s national parks. With his off-hours, Nsengimana is enrolled in a long-distance Master’s in Veterinary Science program in Conservation Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and is expected to graduate in 2015. 
As a Young Laureate, Nsengimana has been awarded 50,000 Swiss francs to dedicate towards the conservation of Rwanda’s endangered Grey Crowned Crane, an exquisite, large bird found in Sub-Saharan Africa that is threatened from habitat loss and illegal trade.  With support from the Rwanda Development Board, Nsengimana will establish a database of all Grey Crowned Cranes in Rwanda and work to convince those keeping the birds illegally as pets to take advantage of an amnesty programme and relinquish them to a rehabilitation centre, to be built in Akagera National Park later in the year.

About Gorilla Doctors

Founded in 1986 at the request of the late gorilla researcher Dian Fossey, the Gorilla Doctors’ veterinary team is dedicated to saving the lives of Central Africa’s endangered mountain and Grauer’s gorillas through health care. Powered by the nonprofit Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, Inc. and the UC Davis Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center, Gorilla Doctors treats wild human-habituated gorillas suffering from life-threatening injury and illness, aids in the rescue and treatment of orphaned gorillas, conducts gorilla and wildlife disease research and surveillance, and facilitates preventive health care for the people who work in the national parks and come into close contact with the gorillas.
PREDICT is a global capacity building project aimed at improving our ability to detect, discover, and predict viral pandemic threats shared between wildlife and people. It was initiated by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Emerging Pandemic Threats Program with $75 million of funding over the past 5 years. The Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program builds on the successes of USAID’s long-standing programs in disease surveillance, training, and outbreak response, particularly those addressing avian and pandemic influenza. The PREDICT team is led by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and includes the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project and the government of Rwanda, as well as the Wildlife Conservation Society, EcoHealth Alliance, Metabiota, and the Smithsonian Institution. Visit
About The Rolex Awards for Enterprise
The Rolex Awards for Enterprise were initiated in 1976 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Oyster chronometer, the world’s first waterproof watch and a symbol of the innovation that the Awards programme supports. The programme recognizes enterprising men and women who are using their talents and initiative to change the world in five broad areas: science and health, applied technology, the environment, exploration and discovery, and cultural heritage. In 2010, the first Awards devoted to Young Laureates honoured resourceful young men and women at a critical juncture in their careers. In addition to the prize money, the Young Laureates receive recognition of their projects through an international media campaign, access to the community of former Rolex Laureates and Jury members, and a Rolex chronometer. .For further information, please visit

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