Wildlife Vets International (WVI) has been providing comprehensive veterinary support for in situ and ex situ conservation of the critically endangered Amur leopard for the past seven years. Due to the extensive overlap in the veterinary support requirements for the conservation of the Amur leopard and Amur tiger, WVI has now extended its focus to include the Amur tiger in an integrated and balanced programme for both cats.

At the end of 2013 specialist vet Dr John Lewis will spend two months in the Russian Far East working on a variety of activities. The aims of the project are:

  • To establish an ongoing system of disease risk analysis for wild Amur leopards and tigers.
  • To develop mitigation strategies for diseases that may compromise the health of wild Amur leopard and tiger populations before they are adversely impacted.
  • To oversee the Amur leopard reintroduction programme in accordance with IUCN guidelines.
  • To provide sufficient specialist training to Russian field biologists and vets to eventually allow them to take these activities forward without reliance on foreign assistance.

To fulfil these aims and in all cases working with Russian counterparts the objectives include:

  • Train Russian wildlife veterinarians in relevant aspects of wildlife medicine.
  • Train Russian vets and field biologists in safe field anaesthetic techniques.
  • Clinically assess tigers caught for radiocollaring and sample appropriately.
  • Conduct a range of tests to determine the health and disease exposure pattern of wild leopards and tigers.
  • Oversee and supervise disease screening of prey and domestic animals in leopard and tiger habitat.
  • Facilitate the development of local wildlife disease diagnostic capacity in RFE.

Updates on John Lewis’ field trip will be uploaded when they become available at the end of 2013 and early 2014.