A Local Team of Ethiopian Vets Ready to Establish the Ethiopian Wolf Semen Bank

In August 2011, a first expedition to Ethiopia was carried out by IBREAM members to make a start with capacity building with a training workshop organized by Dr Paris (IBREAM) and carried out in Ethiopia by IBREAM’s Advisory Board member’s Dr Penfold (Director SEAZRC) and Professor Wenche Farstad (Norwegian School of Veterinary Sience). In July 2012, Dr Lemma (from Addis Abababa University, Debre Zeit ) and Dr. Fekede (Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority) were invited for the second stage of this crucial capacity building component, to be hosted and trained by Dr Penfold at the White Oak Conservation Centre. Dr Lemma says “Our journey, though head to head and long, was quite exciting as a first experience to USA”. Their first day at White Oak, was mostly an introduction to the zoo veterinarians, people working in the laboratory and the premise of White Oak, and the serious work began the next day. Following the completion of the training Dr Lemma and Dr Fedeke prepared a short summary of what they learned and in summary the following was achieved:

  • 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 establish 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. Louise 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 mobilization. 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, anaesthesia and monitoring procedure (instruments), assessment of the physiological soundness of the animal, ultrasonography, testicular measurements, anaesthesia 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 in session 1, and from a cheetah in session 2.
  • Visit to Jacksonville Zoo to visit the carnivore facilities (for the purpose to learn about captive canid management).
  • A training session on education capacity building by working with local school children

IBREAM is extremely grateful to Dr Penfold and SEZARC for giving a lot of their valuable time to make this training a success and we would also like to acknowledge the special effort made by Dr Hilsenroth to give our Ethiopian friends some unique memories, like a flight in a small plane to St Augustine and a wonderful boat trip in the waters surrounding Florida. THANK YOU!

Our Ethiopian colleagues have now gone back home with the mission to start with the banking of semen from the endangered Ethiopian Wolf, and we hope to update you with more news from the field soon.