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Wild camel experts at Knowsley Safari recently hosted world-renowned wild camel conservationist, Dr Adiya Yadamsuren, founder of the Wild Camel Protection Foundation (WCPF) Mongolia, who chose Knowsley Safari for a two week visit to learn more about managing animals in captivity, rather than the wild.
Dr Yadamsuren is one of the world’s leading experts in wild camels and what the world knows about these critically endangered mammals is largely through his tireless research and work.
However, despite the vast amounts of knowledge Dr Yadamsuren has about the wild camel – of which there is thought to be less than 1,000 surviving today – he has very little experience of managing these animals in captivity, but is now responsible for the overall management of the wild camel captive breeding centre in Mongolia.
The conservation team and veterinary team at Knowsley Safari, Bridget Johnson and Jen Quayle, worked at Dr Yadamsuren’s breeding centre in Mongolia earlier this year and invited him to the Safari to receive specialist training in animal husbandry, which he could put to good use back in Central Asia.
Knowsley Safari ungulate experts and vets provided a comprehensive training programme of animal husbandry including darting, health checks, post-mortem protocol, nutrition, feeding routines, body condition storing activities, cleaning routines and sample collection.
Feeding back on his time in Merseyside, Dr Yadamsuren said: “This two-week internship was a great opportunity for learning and professional development in areas of animal husbandry, which I can now take back with me to our Mongolian wildlife veterinarians. The specialist guidance of all involved has been extremely valuable to my practical studies; it will enable me to share the skills and knowledge I’ve learnt for the benefit of wild camels in Mongolia and the people who look after them.
“Learning at Knowsley Safari has been a big milestone in my career development because while I’m an expert in conservation in the wild, looking after wild camels in captivity is very different indeed. I will strive to use the skills I’ve learned in the best possible way and share them as far and wide as possible so everyone at the foundation can benefit.”
Bridget Johnson, Research and Conservation Officer at Knowsley Safari said: “The fact that Dr Yadamsuren could have gone to any safari or zoo in Europe to develop his skills, but came to Knowsley Safari, is a huge honour and also testament to the practical skills we were able to teach him because we do it day in, day out.
“It impressed him that our team had masses of everyday experience in managing captive animals and having had our team work with the foundation in Mongolia, he saw first-hand the practical learnings his team could benefit from.
“The team at Knowsley are very experienced at managing captive animals; we provide high welfare living for animals that are part of sustainable breeding programmes to produce healthy, genetically diverse captive populations. An aim of the work of WCPF is to have the captive populations of wild camels in Mongolia kept to this same standard, and although this is what Knowsley Safari is helping with on the ground, in the long term, it is more important that we build capacity in the country for this to be primarily self-managed. Ensuring management have the correct training is the first step of this capacity building process.”
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