Thomas Pop, Manager of the Hicatee Conservation & Research Center, visited the Cayo District for one week in September to receive training at the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic (BWRC).
BWRC offers free training for governmental and non-governmental partners in wildlife conservation issues, rescue and rehabilitation, wildlife husbandry, emergency response and more. Depending on needs they include some clinical applications as well as basic laboratory methods (with a special focus on parasitology, and fecal analysis which is so often needed in any captive or rescued wildlife species.)
While at the BWRC, Tom was exposed to veterinary techniques that will prove very useful for his work with Hicatee turtles. Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand described Tom as “an enthusiastic learner, with an interest in parasites!”
We are grateful to Dr. Isabelle and her team at the BWRC for hosting Tom and look forward to future opportunities and exchanges. We are also grateful to our partner, the Turtle Survival Alliance, for subsidizing travel costs.
https://www.bfreebz.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Professional-Development-for-HCRC-Staff.jpg225300Tyler Sanvillehttps://www.bfreebz.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Logo-1080.pngTyler Sanville2018-09-27 07:23:492019-10-02 18:11:24Professional Development for HCRC Staff
A team of veterinarians, zookeepers, researchers, and wildlife enthusiasts traveled to BFREE to perform health assessments on the turtles at the Hicatee Conservation and Research Center. Our fall health check occurs when females likely have eggs, which allows the team to perform ultrasounds and determine the reproductive status of the turtles.
Day 1 Examinations were performed on the 2017 and 2018 hatchlings. Under the guidance of Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand, a veterinarian at Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic (BWRC), and Dr. Elliott Jacobson, professor and veterinarian emeritus at University of Florida, each juvenile was weighed, measured and given a thorough exam which included careful assessment of warts and abscesses identified during previous examinations. Overall, turtles showed positive growth rates and reduction in skin problems.
The 2018 hatchlings were examined next – the veterinarians reviewed each of the 169 turtles which had already been weighed and measured on the 4th of September. Hatchlings also showed positive growth and good overall health.
Day 2 Adults and sub-adults were netted from Pond B in the morning and Pond A in the afternoon. Forty-four animals were measured and weighed and given general health examinations. All breeding sized females also underwent ultrasounds to determine the presence of follicles and eggs. One of the adult turtles eluded the nets, as did all the captive-born three and four-year-olds.
Day 3 – Because Dr. Jacobson was on-site to offer professional development training to HCRC staff, he presented a talk on “Zoological Medicine,” to the group. Other lectures he gave throughout the weekend included “Animal Husbandry,” and “Reptile Collecting and Field Methods.”
Data collected during these assessments will add to the ongoing data set being constructed by staff of the HCRC.
Additional photos of the Fall Health Check can be found here: Flickr page.
Thanks to the Turtle Survival Alliance for providing funding for the Fall Health Assessments, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens for loaning the portable ultrasound machine, and Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for providing turtle diet for continued feeding experimentation on the hatchlings. Additionally, thanks the team who contributed time, energy and knowledge to this fall’s assessment: Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand, Dr. Elliott Jacobson, Thomas Pop, Jaren Serano, Nichole Bishop, Saul Bauer, Cayle Pearson, Stephanie Verhulst, Gianni Martinez, Richard Zerilli, Eric Anderson, Jacob Marlin, Heather Barrett and Hyla Marlin.
https://www.bfreebz.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Biannual-Hicatee-Health-Assessments-at-BFree.jpg300225Tyler Sanvillehttps://www.bfreebz.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Logo-1080.pngTyler Sanville2018-09-23 07:26:392019-10-02 18:09:14Bi-annual Hicatee Health Assessments at BFREE