Currently, frustratingly little is known about the status of infectious diseases in endangered felid populations and coexisting wildlife in the Russian Far East. In addition to canine distemper, there are a large number of other pathogens that could affect tigers and leopards, including rabies virus, feline retroviruses, and a host of other infectious agents. This lack of knowledge is of great concern, as declining populations become increasingly vulnerable to stochastic events such as disease outbreaks.
A primary goal of our program is to aid in developing a cadre of Russians dedicated to wildlife conservation. This includes not only “traditional” wildlife biologists and conservationists, but also veterinarians dedicated to wildlife health issues.
Improving the capacity of Russian experts in the fields of clinical diagnostics, clinical pathology, and anatomic pathology will allow them to competently and effectively assess the health of Amur tigers, Far Eastern Leopards,and other local wildlife species.
To this end,WCS Russia has been collaborating closely with the Veterinary program at the Primorskaya State Academy of Agriculture(PSAA) in Ussuriisk for nearly a decade. We have not only provided regular training workshops, but also provided consistent consultations on a variety of wildlife health issues. Specialists from the WCS Global Health Program and the Moscow Zoo have also traveled to the Russian Far East several times as part of these training workshops. Most recently, WCS Russia was a driving force in a 2011 international conference on wildlife disease, and is currently editing a compilation of conference proceedings.
Give these great cats a chance to recover by supporting our efforts to protect them from further habitat loss and poaching.