Wildlife caught in bushfires’ blast

The recent bushfires in the eastern states have caused extensive stock deaths and taken a toll on endangered species.

At the time of writing, the fires have burned more than 200,000ha of bush and agricultural land, devastating national parks and farms.

Stock losses are believed to be around 21,000 throughout NSW, Tasmania, Victoria and central Australia. Continue reading Wildlife caught in bushfires’ blast

A time-saving technological revolution

Utilising the easy-to-use interface of the iPad with the Agworld App is changing the way agronomists and farmers input, store and share information to create an innovative, convenient and real-time way of working together.

As every agronomist and consultant knows, time is precious. Making the most of it is as important to maintaining strong client relationships . . . → Read More: A time-saving technological revolution

Clinical Zoo: Tales from the tiger boudoir

Photo: Taronga Zoo

When three Sumatran tiger cubs were born at Taronga Zoo on a cold August morning last year, keepers and veterinarians breathed a sigh of relief.

Sumatran Tigers are critically endangered, with as few as 400 estimated to be living in the wild. Only seven per cent of their original habitat remains, with palm oil plantations the major threat to the forests they live in. On top of that, tiger body parts continue to be used in traditional medicines, and tiger pelts fetch high prices on the black market. In fact, so great is the demand for tiger pelts that in 2009 a female tiger was poisoned, killed and skinned while in an exhibit at Rimbo Zoo in Indonesia (a suspect has since been arrested).

For these reasons, Taronga’s three cubs represent a staggering one per cent of the existing Sumatran Tiger population. Over the years the Zoo has made a significant contribution to Sumatran Tiger conservation, with the breeding program yielding 30 tigers since 1979. But the lead up to this birth wasn’t straightforward.

Father Satu was imported from Stuttgart Germany at the age of 18 months as part of the international zoo breeding program for Sumatran Tigers. Too young to breed, he spent around 18 months acclimatising at Western Plains Zoo before arriving at Taronga Zoo in January 2008.

When he did arrive he was kept in his own enclosure, as tigers are generally solitary animals. However, he had auditory and olfactory contact with Jumilah and was allowed into her enclosure when she was in oestrus. Continue reading Clinical Zoo: Tales from the tiger boudoir

Camel anaesthesia now safer, easier

Murdoch University veterinarian and specialist anaesthetist Peter Gray has assisted in the development of a safe anaesthetic technique for racing camels in the United Arab Emirates.
Gray worked with an old university friend of his, Alex Tinson, who is the head vet at the Scientific Centre for Racing Camels in the city of Al Ain in the UAE, to develop a method for safely anaesthetising the 550kg animals.

Gray is a senior veterinary registrar at Murdoch University where he teaches and researches the anaesthesia and critical care of large animals. The state of the art camel surgical facility in Al Ain has recently been upgraded, and Gray spent some time working there during 2011 to help develop the anaesthetic protocols for camels as there is almost no scientific research into the desert-dwelling creatures.

Gray explained that anaesthetising camels poses many challenges to veterinarians, “Anaesthetising such a large animal is a huge logistical task and developing the right techniques were incredibly important because these racing camels are very valued creatures in Arab culture”. Continue reading Camel anaesthesia now safer, easier

Vet Ethics: Can we justify generalisations?

Following the heart-breaking death of Ayen Chol, a young child from Melbourne who was mauled by a dog widely reported to be a pit bull crossbreed, there has been both new State legislation and intensified public debate about dog breeds and breed-types.

Of late the excitement has been around the pit bull terrier or American pit bull . . . → Read More: Vet Ethics: Can we justify generalisations?