- Bangladesh diaries: tales of a trainee tiger conservationist
- Okapi camera-trapping
- Introducing the Tiger Team
- The big picture of tiger conservation
- Visiting my Chagossian heritage – Yannick Mandarin
- Bulletin ZSL Cameroon July-September, 2013
- Poaching Across The Generations
- Black Rhino Expedition in Zambia Part 2 (Elephants at lunch!)
- Black Rhino Expedition in Zambia Part 1 (Hyenas in the kitchen!)
- A Farewell from the Tobago Expedition 2013 Team
- Jack: thank you for sharing. I am a keen follower of the...
- NGALAGOU Charles: fauna conservation in our country has a long way ...
- Rob van Loon: Interesting project,the best of luck in conserving...
- Jo: Mangroves are also important fish nurseries....
- Darshan Patel: Exciting stuff! All the best in saving the okapi -...
The Great Britain trip
Posted on August 2, 2010
After spending about two weeks in Moscow, where I was being during the process of the UK visa legalization, I had finally got cherished document and left the capital of Russia for the capital of Great Britain.
The first point of destination was the Wildlife Heritage Foundation (WHF), the breeding centre for big felid species. So, it was the biggest collection of big cats that I had ever seen. Usually this place is not for visitors, but sometimes WHF administration allows people, who are attracted to the future of endangered cats, to visit this place. So, the first day keepers organized a small tour for me and few other people around territory of center. We even had opportunity to take part in the keeper’s work – we cleaned enclosures and feed animals.
The immobilization procedures were planned on the next day. After Dr. John Lewis had arrived in the morning of the next day, knock downs were begun. A lot of interesting people came to see immobilizations. There were also guys from Bangladesh ZSL tiger project – Christina Greenwood and Adam Barlow.
The first our patients were two black leopards, who lived very close to enclosure with lions. Though, neither lions nor leopards had visual contact, one of the leopards tried to tease lion every time. It was curious situation, because lions couldn’t do anything and had very frustrating appearance. Lions probably had cheered up, when it was planned to immobilize leopards for replacing them into another enclosure. However, not for a long time, as it was also planned to knock down lions for replacing into a new enclosure as well. Anyway, they were happy to be saved from annoying neighbors. After leopards were darted, they were placed into special transport box, for replacing and releasing into enclosure. Three lions were immobilized after one by one. After immobilizations it was also resettlement of Amur tiger to the enclosure which lions had left for a new place. Tiger was replaced without immobilization – big transport cage was used for this purpose.
After all work had been done, Christina and Adam made interesting presentation about their work in Bangladesh.
In the morning of the next day John Lewis picked me up from WHF to show veterinary work in the Chessington zoo. The zoo was not big, but it was very vivid and I could feel the people’s love to work which they do with animals. John showed me basic principles of zoo veterinary work.
Colchester zoo was the point of destination on the third day. It had really huge territory and had everything for animals’ welfare at the same time – just take modern water pump cleaning system alone! It was interesting and productive day. We did vasectomy on lion, immobilization and blood sampling of cheetah, treating of rhino’s leg, microchipping of birds and a lot of other interesting things.
Paradise Wildlife Park was the last zoo, where I had opportunity to learn from John Lewis, because I had to leave for ZSL on the next day. But this last day was extremely interesting because it was extremely hard. John Lewis did removing of broken canine on the Amur tiger “Rocky”. Before start John said: ‘It is not easy to remove tiger’s canine, but it is still not as bad as removing of bear’s canine.” Procedure of removing Rocky’s tooth took about six hours, and it was finally done to the end of work day. After all, I remembered John’s words about “bear’s canine” and I was horror-stricken. Later John explained me that Rocky had unusually long root, and it takes even less time to remove canine from usual bear – I had been settled down.
The week in WHF was extremely interesting period of my sojourn in the United Kingdom. Between works in the zoos I had opportunity to attend BIAZA meeting (British zoo association) which was carried out in the Houses of Parliament. I consider it to be a miracle.
Very soon I left WHF for ZSL, where I had met a lot of distinguished people, had visited many interesting places such as ZSL Library or Whipsnade zoo and had opportunity to learn from ZSL vets Andrew Routh and Taina Strike. It was real pleasure to meet the oldest London zoo keeper – Ray Charter who told me a lot of useful and interesting things about big cats keeping. I was also witness of dramatic family relations among lions. Lioness didn’t like her two cubs for some reason. It was two nice subadult lions – sister and brother. Heat period made mother to be in absolutely incongruous mood and father lion had to protect kids from raged mummy sometimes. I had met personally a lot of people which were known to me only from correspondence in ZSL.
I continued my trip from London to Twycross by train. First three days I spent with carnivore keepers. Guys showed me and told a lot of interesting things that concern of carnivores keeping as well as I had opportunity to told about our work in RFE with Amur leopards, because Twycross zoo had two leopards who should take part in breeding program for possible reintroduction and guys were interested to learn about this specie in the wild. Twycross was a quite big zoo. New enclosure for snow leopards was really great. I’m sure that animals were just happy to live in such magnificent structure. Though snow leopards spend almost all their time inside of dens (male – in small cave outside, female – inside of inner building), I still had opportunity to see them walking. I had also opportunity to take part in keppers’ work – to feed animals and clean dens. On the fourth day in Twycross I met veterinarian from IZVG Nick Masters. All next days Nick took me along, and I learned from him. Nick had a lot of work this days, I had opportunity to see ovariohisterectomy on small primate, endoscopy of birds for sex identification, elephant trunk biopsy procedures, a lot of immobilizations, including knocking down of iguana that was really interesting. Nick and I also visited Birmingham zoo to provide health check of few animals. Between veterinary proceedings we attended presentation of Koustubh Sharma, a scientist from Snow leopard trust, where I had an opportunity to say few words about our work in Amur leopard project.
It was my first time in abroad, and I worried a bit in the beginning of trip, but now I can say for sure that all my worries were unfair. All people were really friendly and I never felt myself out from one’s element. It was absolutely enjoyable trip, where I obtained experience of high qualified zoo veterinary work, met a lot of new friends and had opportunity to see the Great Britain.