Frédéric Singa is Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and works for WWF in the Central African Republic as a Wildlife Veterinarian. He leads the implementation of the One Health programme in the Dzanga Sangha Protected Areas and manages the field laboratory.
How long have you been working for WWF, Frédéric?
Since 2018, I have been passionate about public health, which is why, after graduating, I looked for a job at the interface between animals, people and the environment. I found it at the WWF.
What are the focal points of your work?
The One Health programme has two goals: to monitor the health of wildlife and to raise awareness of the risks of zoonoses, infectious diseases that can be transmitted between humans and animals. For me, this means that I examine all animal carcasses that our teams find in the forest to understand the cause of death. I also monitor the health of the habituated gorilla groups. Furthermore, I organize awareness raising events to educate people on how to prevent the transmission of diseases between humans and animals.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
Let’s take a day when I observe the health of the gorillas. Before we go into the forest at 6.30 am, I make sure everyone takes a Covid test and follows the hygiene measures: Take a temperature, wear a mask, wash hands, disinfect shoes. Once we find the gorillas, I look at each animal through binoculars from about 10, 15 metres to see if it has an injury or is behaving in any unusual way. If a gorilla produces urine or faeces, we wait until it moves away and take a sample with us. I can then examine it later in the laboratory.
What are the biggest challenges for you in your work?
To convince people to stop eating bushmeat, poaching and taking over wildlife habitats. Because the less human-wildlife contact there is, the lower the risk of outbreaks of infectious diseases, which are often zoonoses.
What do you wish for the project?
That the local and indigenous population is even more committed to the conservation of the Dzanga Sangha Protected Areas and helps all partners to achieve the goals.
Why should people from all over the world support Dzanga-Sangha?
Because your donation helps to preserve the forest and wildlife of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and facilitates access to health care, education and nutrition for the people living here. What’s more, Dzanga-Sangha is part of one of the world’s great rainforests, whose impact on the climate is vital to us all.