Conflict Tiger: Health and Handling
Sumatran tigers are increasingly under threat due to conflict with humans. Poachers hoping to sell their bones into the Chinese medicine trade lay snares for them, and they can also get caught in traps left for pigs and deer. In addition, they may eat goats belonging to local people and be trapped and removed to solve the problem.
ZSL Vet Tai Strike during a practical workshop
To enable Indonesian vets and other staff to assist the Indonesian Forestry Department in saving these tigers that come into conflict with humans, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) ran a veterinary training course in early 2012 in partnership with Taman Safari Indonesia, (TSI, a large zoo on Java) to increase their practical skills
Summary of Practical Exercises
The practical sessions began by showing a video on how to anaesthetize a tiger using a low cost, efficient blowpipe gun and how to make the blowpipe and blow syringe.
Participants were then divided into three groups, each group were tasked, in real time, to check the health of a sedated tiger. The groups discussed the appropriate methods and procedures including the drugs that they would use and the volume based on the tigers weight.
The participants collected samples of blood, fur and faeces. The tiger was then brought out of sedation and monitored whilst it recovered.
The final practical training covered the methods involved in examining blood and faecal samples in the laboratory. The group discussed the findings of this exercise.
Taman Safari Indonesia aim to keep in contact with all attendees so that should any treatment need to be carried out on either a wild tiger or captive tiger, they can participate and continue their practical experience.
Summary of Presentations
• Yohana T Astuti (TSI)
Presentation on issues associated with removing tigers from conflict situations
• Dr John Lewis
(Int. Zoo Veterinary Group, Wildlife Vets International)
Presentation on methodology of anesthesia
• Dr Tai Strike (Zoological Society of London)
Presentation on emergency treatment for tigers
• Dr John Goodrich (Wildlife Conservation Society)
Presentation on his work with Amur tigers in Eastern Russia over 15 years
• Mahbub Alam (Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh/ZSL)
Presentation on how to improve understanding and solving of tiger-human conflict in the Sundarbans Tiger Project
• Dr Wishnu Wardhana
Presentation on handling tiger rescues and establishing the wildlife rescue team in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra
• Dr Retno Sudarwati (TSI)
Presentation on temporarily holding a wild tiger in captivity
• Dr Bongot H Mulia (TSI)
Presentation on veterinary aspects specific to Sumatran tiger release back into a wild habitat
ZSL Vet Tai Strike
Attendees at 2012 workshop