WVI has run workshops for local tiger biologists and vets in Bangladesh, and Bangladeshi wildlife vet, Dr. Mahbub Alam, has received training in the UK on field anaesthesia of large cats. WVI has also been involved in training local field staff for dealing with human-tiger conflict situations.
The Bangladesh Forest Department recently requested further training for their staff and we hope to start this in late 2016 after an MoU is finalised.
We have assisted in the post mortem examination of wild tiger in the field, as well as advising on radio-collaring techniques.
We have also been able to supply tiger-appropriate anaesthetic equipment.
In collaboration with the WildTeam Bangladesh Bagh Project, WVI designed and is facilitating investigations into whether dogs in villages adjacent to tiger habitat in the Sundarbans carry the Canine Distemper Virus. This work is well underway, and in 2016 we will be sending a volunteer vet to help with data analysis and possibly extend the studies to include small wildlife species.
The dogs will benefit from vaccination against rabies and distemper after sampling, and villagers will benefit from being a little safer from rabies and having healthier dogs.
This project was designed in such a way as to be easily expanded to survey a range of diseases present in the domestic dog and cat populations, as well as in local wildlife. This more comprehensive disease surveillance programme could be invaluable in protecting tiger health in the long term.
We provide advice as necessary - primarily to local conservation organisation WildTeam. We expect this aspect of our work will soon be extended to include the Bangladesh Forest Department following their recent approach to us for assistance. We have provided a field manual to help with tiger capture, anaesthesia and rehabilitation in Bangladesh.