Operation and Maintenance

Wild farms require specialized buildings and skilled staff, and as a result, are normally expensive to run and to maintain. Obtaining sufficient funds is essential for the farm’s survival.

The farm employs several kinds of workers to care for the animals. Zoologists or Veterinarians shall be responsible for arranging for captive breeding programs and shall make decisions about the types and physical conditions of species to be considered for public display, including the housing conditions they will need. Likewise, they shall also be responsible for the daily animal health. Zookeepers shall tend to the day-to-day needs of the animals, including feeding, grooming animals and maintaining enclosures. They shall often deal with questions from visitors. All these positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in Biology, Zoology, or other animal-related fields, as well as first hand experience with animals.

General Quarantine Procedure and Protocol

  • All animals had to undergo six (6) months quarantine period in Manila prior to shipment to the center in Brgy. Sto. Domingo, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras.
  • Every animal has to undergo the following procedures:
  • Deworming
  • Lice/tick bath
  • Physical Examination
  • Acclimatization process
  • Species identification, i.e., tagging, labeling, leg bonding, weighing, recording/monitoring of traits/character, habitat, food and sexing process

The 6-month quarantine period will enable veterinarians to flush out ingested matters in the intestines and samples from excreta will be collected for laboratory examination. This process will reveal whatever diseases the animals carry so that appropriate treatment can be provided. Vaccination will also be undertaken at this stage.

  • At the project site, the animal has to stay in another quarantine area for 30 days before releasing it into its respective cages.

Animal Care

Zookeepers shall work with a wide range of animals, but one (1) Zookeeper shall specialize in the care of a particular animal group This is because animals quickly become comfortable with their keeper’s presence in or near their enclosure and grow accustomed to their keeper’s routine. In turn, the keeper shall develop a detailed knowledge of individual animals. Their health-care needs, and the way they normally behave. Zookeepers should normally be the first to notice any changes in behavior or eating habits that might be an indication that an animal is ill or injured.

Over the years, these animals will become accustomed to their keepers that the animals act very much like household pets. However, zookeepers shall constantly bear in mind that the animals in their care are not domesticated. This is particularly important when animals are under unusual stress – for example if they have recently been moved, if other animals have just joined their group, or if they have newly born young. In these conditions, keepers have to be careful not to trigger defense behavior in animals that could place the keeper or other animals in danger.

Sanitation is a very important component in maintaining the habitats of animals. For cages with concrete floors, flushing of water and disinfectant weekly has proven to be effective in maintaining sanitation of animal cages. For cages using natural ground as floors, dry cleaning will be undertaken. Droppings shall be collected weekly and shall be utilized in composting projects.

South America boasts of tremendous diversity of wildlife, and continuous research on the biology of different species are being done. The study of wildlife while in captivity has contributed greatly to our current knowledge in biology, and zoos, wildlife breeding centers and research institutions are playing a vital role in this respect.

Projects relating to wildlife conservation and research have limited budgets in South America. Nevertheless, institutions have made considerable advances over the past decades. Most of the zoos in South America are maintained by municipalities or states or provincial governments, but the number of private ventures is gradually increasing. This is proving beneficial for conservation strategies and there is no doubt that the private sector and non-government initiatives have an important part to play in nature conservation.

Correct husbandry practices in order to prevent diseases and to encourage animal reproduction is an essential aspect of the preservation of endangered species. The act maintaining wild animals in captivity is a very huge challenge. The Lombija project includes management of zoos and practices that push for the prevention of infectious and parasitic diseases in animal groups.

REPTILES

Reptiles are ectothermic animals, which means that to maintain internal body temperature they need an external source of warmth. This direct dependence on environmental conditions makes reptiles very susceptible to improper husbandry practices. Metabolic processes, such as digestion of food and antibody production are dependent on adequate temperature. Sub-optimal ambient and body temperature impede the synthesis of antibodies. As a consequence opportunistic pathogens my invade tissues and cause disease.

Particular attention must be paid to basic housing conditions. Temperature is a crucial factor in keeping reptiles.

BIRDS

As they evolved, diverse groups of birds developed peculiar physiological and biological features. Providing general guidelines applicable to every group of birds is a challenging assignment, since peculiarities occur in every bird family. The primary focus of this management strategy is to report some of the most parasitic and infectious diseases of captive birds and provide guidelines to health management.

A considerable number of avian deaths in captivity could be prevented by simply establishing basic good husbandry practices. Diseases in general, cannot be viewed as chance occurrences but as a pathological process initiated by environmental, physiological and genetic factors detrimental to health. The more we understand the physiological necessities of animals in the captive environment, the better re the chances of achieving successful long-term maintenance and reproduction. Good husbandry and preventive practices concerning disease must be enforced by those devoted to the conservation and reproduction of wild animals in captivity.

Management Practices

Enclosures

Inappropriate aviary design leads to the occurrence of accidents and diseases. It has been seen that many enclosures do not fulfill the basic needs of adequate space, shelter, privacy, security and hygiene. Henceforth, an aviary should provide protection against predators and adverse climatic conditions. Food and water containers should be provided so that excrement contamination is reduced to a minimum. Perches should be secured and of adequate diameter for the size of the species exhibited. Next, boxes should be protected from rain and direct sunlight. Care must be taken that nesting material does not become a substrate for fungus growth. Aviary floors should always be lid with hygiene requirements in mind; a slight slope and a drainage system in the floor favor the removal of organic debris. Clean, fresh, uncontaminated water is a basic necessity for keeping birds healthy. Overcrowding may lead to agnostic interactions and death.

Preventive Medicine Program

Veterinarians should establish preventive medicine programs which may vary according to the aviary design, the bird group involved, incidence of disease in the collection and geographic area. Quarantine procedures are mandatory to prevent the introduction of new pathogens into the collection. Preventive practices include periodic physical examinations, standard fecal examinations, periodic deworming, prophylaxis of clamidiosis, vaccination of population at risk and control of rats and other vermin. All birds that die must be necropsied.

Hygiene and Sanitation

Good hygiene is critical to the prevention and control of diseases. In the captive environment it is inevitable that there will be concentration of organic debris and pathogenic organisms. Constant exposure of the birds to potentially pathogenic microorganisms increases the chance of infection and disease. Daily cleaning of aviaries is ideal, but in breeding colonies, the constant human interference may reduce reproduction rates. Organic debris must be removed physically before using water hoses and disinfectants. When disinfection is necessary, sodium hypochlorite, quaternary ammonium and phenol are commonly used. Food and water bowls should be made of stainless steel, hard plastic or crockery to facilitate daily cleaning and disinfections.

PRIMATES

The extensive use of non-human primates in biomedical research has contributed to the evolution of medical primatology and has yielded a number of publications dealing with husbandry and diseases. In recent years, emerging viral diseases of non human primates either in the wild or in captivity have assumed increasing importance in biomedical investigation. The zoonotic significance of these diseases has resulted in their becoming an important subject of research. The process of transition from the wild to the captive environment exposes animals to variety of stresses. Repeated stress and an imbalanced diet may render an animal more susceptible to infectious agents, than would normally be the case.

Diseases that most frequently cause mortality in primates in captivity are usually associated with inadequate nutrition and errors in management. Undernourished animals will usually offer little immunological resistance against opportunistic pathogens. Infectious diseases that frequently result in significant losses are; bacterial enterocolitis, pneumonias and parasitism.

Enterocolitis

Incidence of mortality due to enteritis in primates is relatively high particularly in South America. Bacteria are the most frequent cause of diarrheas. Protozoan, helminthes and viruses may also be agents of gastrointestinal disorders.

Diet and Feeding

Keeping zoo animals properly nourished entails many people. Zookeepers shall be responsible in providing animals their food rations, but veterinarians and nutritionists shall work behind the scenes to ensure that each animal receives balanced diet. Zoo kitchens must stock a wide variety of meats, fish, insects, grains and plants to meet the needs of different animals. Kitchen workers shall chop and grind food, add vitamin supplements, and sometimes cook food to make it appetizing and nutritious for each animal.

There are other animals that have specific dietary requirements that can be harder to match. For these animals, a substitute diet shall be used instead.

There are cases that zoo animals receive too much food, hence, they easily become overweight. Apes are particularly prone to this problem. During these modern times, veterinarians and animal nutritionists determine the kind and quantity of food for animals because zoo animals are now housed in enclosures that permit them to exercise more, and partly because zookeepers have better understanding of animal nutrition requirements.

Basically, the feeds/foods to be given to zoo animals shall be composed of fruits, vegetables and assorted grains or seeds. These shall be supplemented by pre-formulated dog foods, vitamins and minerals that are mixed/glazed with the grains. Vitamins to be utilized are those which should contain vitamin C, A, D, E K3 and Calcium Lactate. Electrolyte, honeybee, anti-stress and liver enhancing supplements shall also be used to improve vigor and vitality for animals. Fruits and vegetables are available and abundant locally while assorted grains and seeds, dog food and honeybee are being purchased outside the area.

Medical Care

In case zoo animals become ill, veterinarians shall be on hand to diagnose and treat the problem. Veterinary care may include dental work, such as removing teeth or abscesses; vaccinating animals to protect them from infectious disease; and managing captive-breeding programs and supervising in the birth of new animals. Veterinarians also perform major internal operations. When the patient shall be as large as bear or an elephant, surgery calls for considerable expertise on the part of the veterinarian and medical support staff to properly anesthetize the animal.

The effectiveness of attentive medical care and of zoo care in general is reflected in the animal life spans.  Captive animals generally have longer average lifespan than animals in the wild.

Deworming medicines shall be used to eradicate intestinal parasites while antibiotics such as Amoxicillin, Streptomycin and Sulfaquinoxaline shall be used to treat infections. In cases of ailments, sick animals shall be isolated and/or brought to the animal hospital for diagnosis and treatment by the veterinarian.

C for twenty-four hours. The exclusion of draughts is also very important.°Major problem with sick birds is that they all tend to show similar symptoms, no matter what disease. The typical sign of a sick bird is that it is usually quiet, drowsy, rests with both feet on the perch, has its feathers ruffled and the head tucked under the wing or drawn back into the chest, with eyes partly closed. Some may squat on the perch or floor of the cage and my show excessive stretching of the wings and legs, together with shivering. If the bird manifests those symptoms it should be isolated and placed in a warm environment preferably 30-32

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