RESEARCH

Kenyans urged to conserve forests, the animals’ natural habitats

In Summary

• IPR has a staff of 250 personnel out of which 69 are scientists (22 PhD), 81 technical staff, the rest animal care personnel and support staff and interns.

•IPR Research programs are supported by the Kenya Government, International partners: WHO, USAID, DFID, JICA, DFG, JSPS Japan among others.

Vervet monkeys eating crops, disturbing farmers in Kamiu in Embu.
CUTE, DESTRUCTIVE: Vervet monkeys eating crops, disturbing farmers in Kamiu in Embu.
Image: HANDOUT

Wild animals conservation including monkeys are very important as animals attract revenue from tourists, this is according to Dr. Gichuhi Mwethera, Director of the Institute of Primate Research (IPR).

Mwethera said that in their research, monkeys are important models for testing new drugs before use in humans, and appealed to the public to conserve forests as they are the animals’ natural habitats.

"We appeal to all Kenyans to conserve forests where these animals live, and also learn to co-exist with them," Mwethera said.

Mwethera added that IPR has put in place a dedicated purpose-built animal facilities and accompanying expertise to enable the institution to acquire, and utilize non-human primates in its biomedical research work as animal models for pre-clinical testing of drugs before using them in humans. 

“IPR’s research capacity and compliance with international best practices in animal acquisition, care and use has enabled it gain recognition by United States National Institutes of Health Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare."

Director Institute of Primate Research Gichuhi Mwethera.
Director Institute of Primate Research Gichuhi Mwethera.
Image: HANDOUT

He also said​ that IPR is run by one director who serves for a maximum of six years (two terms of three years each). 

Further, the doctor said that IPR has a staff of 250 personnel out of which 69 are scientists (22 PhD), 81 technical staff, the rest animal care personnel and support staff and interns.

He explained that its primate conservation field stations/sites are in Tana River, Mathews Range (Samburu) and Chyulu hills.

Also, the institute was designated as a Covid-19 testing and research center by the Kenya Government 1n 2020.

“We have been testing Covid-19 and submitting the results to the ministry of health for official release of the national results."

It has also published scientific publications on basic and preclinical research using monkeys and other experimental products such as snakes and rodents.

"We have well established in-vitro fertilization (IVF) system used to test and improve IVF systems for human and also used for conservation of endangered species."

It also serves as a national research Centre for venom and anti-venom including snake bite disease.