Two Ethiopian veterinarians, Drs. Alemayehu Lemma and Fekede Regassa, joined SEZARC to learn advanced reproductive techniques and genome resource banking to help save the critically endangered Ethiopian wolf.
Dr. Lemma (from Addis Abababa University, Debre Zeit ) and Dr. Regassa (Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority) were hosted and trained by Dr. Penfold at White Oak Holdings. Their first day at White Oak was mostly an introduction to White Oak veterinarians, laboratory staff, and the premise of SEZARC, and the serious work began the next day. Here is a brief summary of what Dr. Lemma and Dr. Regassa learned during their time training with SEZARC:
- Basic training on lab safety, handling, record keeping.
- Training on male gamete rescue, semen assessment and subsequent semen freezing with material from a local neutering center for pets, and establishing a protocol for Ethiopian wolf gamete rescue.
- Improved knowledge by organized lectures on semen collection, processing, evaluation and cryopreservation. A big applause to Dr. Penfold for organizing highly-recognized canid reproduction expert Dr. Cheri Asa from the St. Louis Zoo, MO to meet with our guests and give them several lectures focused on exotic canid semen collection, insemination technologies, as well as on canid captive breeding management.
- Training on exotic carnivore immobilization. The first session focused on Maned wolf immobilization. Attention was paid to the wolf-holding facility, construction of holding/immobilizing box, techniques of capturing for immobilization, anesthesia and monitoring procedure (instruments), assessment of the physiological soundness of the animal, ultrasonography, testicular measurements, anesthesia reversal and recovery monitoring. A second session focused on Florida Panther immobilization and further knowledge was gained.
- Training on exotic wildlife semen collection by assisting with semen collection from an elephant and from a cheetah.
- Visit to Jacksonville Zoo to visit the carnivore facilities and learn about captive canid management.
- A training session on education capacity building by working with local school children.