The Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville (CIRMF) opened in 1979 and is one of the most modern, active medical research centers in Central Africa. It develops diagnostic tools and strategies to actively fight against AIDS, malaria, influenza, sickle cell anemia, chikungunya, hemorrhagic fever and infantile diarrhea. The center houses many species of primates such as chimpanzees and mandrills, but only chimpanzees are used in medical research, in particular in parasitological research. The biological studies done with gorillas are non-invasive manipulations, on the reproduction hormones levels and the growth of foetus, collected by sample of urine or by ultrasound. The only experimental studies on gorillas are behavioural studies on their cognitive abilities.
Their first gorilla was a female called Typhen who died in 2011. She was seized from a private owner and arrived in June 1979. Years later, she was joined by Djoutou and Etoumbie, two silverbacks that arrived from the bushmeat trade and Howletts Wild Animal Park in England, respectively. Typhen gave birth for the first time in September 1983, to a female called Caroline.
The Franceville Research Center keeps a group of three gorillas: COLA