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Project information

Veterinary Training Helps Save Endangered Species

Little wildlife medicine is taught in countries with high endemic biodiversity. Populations are becoming smaller, further apart and closer to humans and less resistant to disease outbreaks.

WVI aims to train and support field staff and vets in disease surveillance, analysis and mitigation measures

ongoing, activities shown are due in 2017

Charity information: Wildlife Vets International

Wildlife Vets International logo
  • Need


    An outbreak of a disease with a 50% mortality rate in the remaining population of 75 Amur leopards would reduce the population to near unviable levels; greatly increasing the possibility of extinction.

    The threat increases as populations are reduced through poaching and habitat destruction. To date, few conservation organisations and government departs have the expertise to carry out disease surveillance, diagnostic laboratories nor to interpret the results and advise mitigation strategies.


    WVI provides expertise to
    - run workshops
    - produce bespoke manuals
    - provide on the job training for vets and field staff
    - Provide continuous support via the web

    Topics include immobilising conflict tigers , taking samples from a wild Amur leopard,African painted dog, or swabs from a Round Island boa, reducing disease transmission when supplement feeding Mauritius pink pigeons, fixing the wing on a critically endangered Indian white-backed vulture and how to x-ray rescued Hawksbill turtl

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Increase disease surveillance capacity in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe and surrounding area.


    » Train field biologists and Zimbabwean vets in collecting samples from carnivores throughout the national park and surrounding area.
    » Provide diagnostic equipment for a veterinary laboratory in Victoria Falls
    » Provide training in how to use the diagnostic equipment and interpret the results.
    » Facilitate a network of field biologists, vets and lab technicians to work together and share knowledge.

    What success will look like

    An increase in number of samples that are being collected and processed in the area

    Aim 2

    Increase the survival rates of injured endangered birds of prey


    » Provide first aid training for raptor rehabilitators in South Africa finding birds on a poisoned carcass
    » Provide wet lab training to vets and rehabilitators in South Africa on how to fix broken wings and legs.
    » Provide surgical, pre and post surgery training to deal with birds of prey caught up in cutting strings from the International Kite Festival, India
    » (TBC) Support vets and husbandry experts training Bulgarian rehabilitators dealing with birds or prey electrocuted by pylons or hit by wind turbines.

    What success will look like

    Improvement of survival rate from injuries sustained and fitness of birds being released

    Aim 3

    Increase disease surveillance capacity throughout the tiger’s range


    » Mentor a Bangladeshi vet based with partners WildTeam and a disease surveillance pilot project in Bangladesh
    » (TBC) Training workshops for the Annual meeting of the Sumatran Tiger Health Form
    » Training to use sample analysis equipment provided to Bogor Primate Centre in order that they are able to test for distemper in Indonesia
    » Continue to mentor the Russian vet overseeing disease surveillance in the Amur tiger’s range.

    What success will look like

    Continued dialogue with colleagues working in Russia and a growth of the disease surveillance work in Bangladesh and Sumatra

    Aim 4

    Increase wildlife medicine capacity in the Seychelles


    » Provide ongoing training to Marine Conservation Society Seychelles staff in rehabilitation of sea turtles and mud turtles.
    » Provide ongoing training to Seychellois vets in anaesthesia, x-ray and medicine of their native wildlife.
    » Train Island Conservation Seychelles staff on Aride Island in disease surveillance and mitigation strategies
    » Train conservation organisations in Seychelles about how disease can affect the conservation of small populations

    What success will look like

    Increase in the number of turtles that can be rehabilitation and a stable (increasing?) number of Seychelles magpie robins on Aride Island

    Aim 5

    Ongoing training and support for endangered bird and reptile species in Mauritius


    » Provide ongoing training and support to Mauritius Wildlife Foundation staff to ensure disease does not affect the restoration of species

    What success will look like

    We will see at least the same amount of involvement in conservation planning and disease surveillance samples to advise on.

  • Impact


    WVI’s vision is to see well equipped and staffed diagnostic veterinary laboratories working with experienced field staff and wildlife vets in-county to reduce the threat of extinction to endangered species from disease.

    Success would be demonstrated by a reduction of support to a level experienced by any network of professionals while identifying new areas for training, advice and support. This would occur both within the projects and countries mentioned in the ‘Aims’ and in new areas.


    Conservation is dependent on people. Should key people change responsibilities and so are unable to facilitate our projects in-country or funding is limited, timings will be affected.

    WVI believes that a series of short training sessions backed up by bespoke manuals and ongoing mentoring is key to increasing capacity within the areas we work. Therefore we have a rolling 2-3 year programme for all our projects.


    Donors will get the reports from each of these projects either in full and/or as part of an informative newsletter. Donors will be appropriately tagged in any news that is published on the Website or on Social Media. WVI staff will give talks when appropriate.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £43,420

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £8,580 Training costs in Zimbabwe Training of field staff in disease surveillance and sample collection
      £7,260 Training costs in India Training Jivdaya Charitable Trust staff in pre and post surgical treatment and vets in surgery
      £12,620 Training costs in South Africa 3 x training courses for rehabilitators and vets in bird of prey first aid
      £3,380 Training in Bulgaria Training rehabilitators in first aid and rehabilitation of birds of prey
      £7,730 Training in tiger range countr Hands on training, mentoring and guidance for vets and field biologists involved in tiger conservati
      £3,850 Training in Mauritius ongoing training and support for field staff involved with species recovery

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Mauritius Wildlife Foundation £500 Conditional
    Kwaggas View Lodge and in country partners £2,800 Conditional
    Private donor £2,500 Conditional
    IFAW - Rus £3,000 Guaranteed
    Painted Dog Conservation and other in country partners £1,000 Conditional
    Homer Forbes International £5,600 Conditional
    Knowsley Safari Park £3,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    WVI across the world mostly works in countries with high biodiversity and in some cases, with species only found in that country. All species are endangered and share threats from man through poaching and habitat loss.

    Government veterinary departments are underfunded and have little experience with wildlife medicine. Conservation and veterinary graduates in these countries have little wildlife or conservation medicine training.


    Our training targets individuals working on species conservation in country. They tend to be field biologists working for local or international NGOs, Government staff in relevant departments and veterinarians working independently, for NGOs or for the Government.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    WVI has a successful and unique track record of carrying out disease surveillance in endangered species across the world from tigers in Russia, Sumatra and Bangladesh to pink pigeons in Mauritius. We have also produced the first comprehensive Disease Risk Assessment for a big cat reintroduction: the Amur leopard.

    WVI has installed diagnostic equipment to a clinic in Seychelles and to Zimbabwe.

    We believe the key to long term conservation is by establishing sustainable capacity in-country.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr John Lewis

    Carnivore expert and project leader and vet on the tiger, Amur leopard and Painted dog projects

    Andrew Greenwood

    Reptile and avian expert and is project leader for our projects in the Indian Ocean and vet for the Mauritius project

    Johanna Storm

    Avian and reptile surgeon and is the main vet for our projects in India and the Seychelles.

    Neil Forbes

    Bird of prey expert, project leader and vet for our South Africa project