28. Zoo Research Camp 2009

Zoo Research Camp at the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation, QatarZRC2009_Final_Group_Picture_01

The Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation (AWWP) successfully organized and hosted the 3rd Zoo Research Camp (ZRC2009) in collaboration with the Division of Zoo, Exotic Pets and Wildlife (DZEPW) of the Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich. The 10 day camp, which has been held annually in February since 2007, is a result of a flourishing long-term collaboration between the two institutions in the areas of research and development. It is sponsored, in part, by the AWWP and by the Swiss Veterinarians Association.The ZRC2009, from 5th to 14th February, consisted of six veterinary students in the third and fourth year of their veterinary graduation from universities in Switzerland. The students were accompanied and supervised by a faculty member, Prof. Dr. Marcus Clauss, and his two assistants. Each student carried out a research project on a topic of wildlife health using data collected routinely by staff at AWWP. Research topics were diverse and included the overview of the medical pathology of different species of gazelles like Laristan Mouflon, Nubian Ibex and Wildgoat; the epidemiological evaluation of pneumonia in gazelles at AWWP; and the role of management factors in the incidence of pneumonia in Beira Antelopes. Literature research, as well as interaction with the curators and keeper, was also encouraged to allow the students to develop the requisite skills for carrying out an independent research undertaking.

The ZRC2009 team also carried out feeding trials on 3 species at AWWP by feeding the animals a special marker and then collecting all the fecal output from the animals to gain insight into the digestive physiology of these hitherto unstudied species.

ZRC2009_Training_for_Dart_Injections_With_a_Blowpipe_01 ZRC2009_Sedation_and_Examination_of_a_Pesquet_Parrot_01 ZRC2009_Data_Encoding_and_Evaluation_01
Blowpipe training Pesquet Parrot examination Encoding and evaluation


In addition to the research work, the students participated in the daily veterinary treatments and diagnostic work at AWWP to experience and understand the challenges faced by a wildlife veterinarian. Theoretical and practical training was imparted in distance immobilization and routine laboratory diagnostics. In addition, activities like vaccination of Cheetahs using a blowpipe, distance immobilization of Dama Gazelles, restraint and examination of Laristan Mouflons, sedation and examination of birds using inhalant anesthetics, and routine post mortem examinations proved to be the highlight of the research camp.
ZRC2009_Distance_Immobilization_of_a_Dama_Gazelle_01 ZRC2009_Release_of_a_Laristan_Sheep_After_Treatment_01
Immobilization of Dama Gazelle Laristan Mouflon restraint

With the main emphasis, however, on veterinary research, it was not surprising that the efforts invested by the students culminated in meaningful conclusions and recommendations that were presented to the AWWP staff at the end of the research camp. Not only did these findings provide significant inputs to the routine veterinary service provided at AWWP, but in the past the findings have resulted in a scientific publication authored by the student. In fact, the cumulative research findings from the ZRC2008 have resulted in 11 publications that will be presented at the annual International Zoo and Wildlife Veterinary Conference in May 2009. The ZRC has been hailed as a pioneering initiative in wildlife veterinary education and the superlative experience for all parties involved, year after year, has consolidated the success of this joint initiative between AWWP and the University of Zurich.

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