Karen A. Terio1, DVM, PhD, DACVP; Catherine Vallance2, BS; Michael J. Kinsel1, DVM, DACVP; Titus Mlengeya3, BVM, MSc; Dominic A. Travis4, DVM, MS; Elizabeth V. Lonsdorf4, PhD
1Zoological Pathology Program, University of Illinois, Maywood, IL, USA; 2Biomedical Visualization Program, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL, USA; 3Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), Arusha, Tanzania; 4Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL, USA
Health surveillance of wildlife populations is invariably difficult because of problems in obtaining useful biologic samples. Information gained from serosurveys and parasite screens are important tools to determine the prevalence of specific pathogens and assess population health. However, the actual risks posed by specific pathogens may not be ascertained by these methods. Necropsies can be used not only to determine the cause of an individual mortality, but to determine whether exposure to a specific pathogen or toxin impacts the health of a population. Given logistic difficulties, trained veterinarians are not always available when a mortality event occurs at many field sites. Therefore, it is important to have trained personnel available on-site that can perform necropsies safely yet completely. Towards this goal, we developed a step-by-step primate necropsy guide with drawings, photographs, and an accompanying interactive CD-ROM. All materials will be translated into Swahili and French but also have been designed for use by personnel with limited reading capabilities. The CD-ROM includes an animated necropsy and topics pertinent to the primate necropsy such as appropriate personal protection. Training materials were tested at a January 2007 primate necropsy training workshop held in Tanzania and attended by veterinarians, park wardens, ecologists, and field assistants with varying experience in necropsy technique. Usefulness of training materials was assessed by a postworkshop survey. Irrespective of training and background, all participants found the materials to be useful and participants provided critical feedback to improve the training materials. These suggestions have been incorporated and materials will be made available, at no cost, to organizations working in primate conservation.
The necropsy workshop was sponsored by the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study of Conservation of Apes at Lincoln Park Zoo in collaboration with Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Jane Goodall Institute, and the University of Illinois Zoological Pathology Program. Production of the final training materials was sponsored by an AAZV Mazuri Fund grant.