Abstract # 238:

Scheduled for Friday, August 10, 2001 08:30 AM-10:30 AM: Session 7 (University Hall 157) Symposium


T. Bettinger1 and J. Bielitzki2
1Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Cleveland, OH 44109, 2NASA/Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California
     This symposium will look at the complex interactions of animals, shrinking home ranges, local human populations, field research activities, public health issues and veterinary practices as they affect the future of wild populations of endangered species of primates. Although only recently named, the concept of conservation medicine has existed for many years. Conservation medicine refers to the diseases of wildlife in the context of their ecological system. More recently, it has also began to encompass the sensitive issue of potential transmission of disease between animals and the humans co-existing in a region. It is not uncommon for a project in one region to include basic research, veterinary care, human health care, education, ecotourism and economic development. These complex programs require a variety of expertise. Cooperation between the various outside participants, local people and governmental departments is critical to avoid inadvertently working against one another. For long-term projects, problems caused by the instability of local political situations and changing attitudes toward animal care issues may cause interest and support to fluctuate over time thus impacting the continuity of the project. Successful field activities must continue to focus on the safety and well being of local wildlife populations but these programs should also recognize the delicate balance between the needs of local people, cultures, science, medicine, politics and the mutually beneficial results which can be achieved through common focus on problem solving. This symposium brings together professionals who are actively working with wildlife management programs. The papers presented in this session will discuss: 1) conservation medicine in general, 2) the application of a formal health assessment program for mountain gorillas, 3) preliminary health assessments used before reintroduction of sanctuary held chimpanzees in Congo, 4) reintroduction issues of captive bred lemurs, and 5) the complex interactions of local people, parasites and proximate chimpanzee and gorilla groups. Although addressing a specific component of a larger project, each presentation will illustrate the multidisciplinary approach required to accomplish their goals. [PARTICIPANTS: M. Cranfield, R. Junge, M. Ancrenaz, A. Lilly]