Wayne S.J. Boardman1, BVetMed, MRCVS; Steve J. Unwin2, BVSc, MRCVS; Eric Dubuis3, DVM; Priscilla H. Joyner4, BVMS, MRCVS; Jonathan M. Sleeman4,†, MA, VetMB, DACZM, MRCVS
Primate sanctuaries in Africa emerged in response to the increasing number of great apes injured and displaced by illegal hunting and habitat destruction. The Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance (PASA) was formed in 2000, and is an alliance of approximately 19 primate sanctuaries throughout Africa. PASA’s mission is to provide the best facilities and care possible to captive African primates in Africa, while working towards the protection and conservation of the species in the wild (https://pasa.org/) (VIN editor: the original link was modified on 1/29/21). PASA includes committees on education, management, conservation, reintroduction, as well as veterinary healthcare. To improve the standards of healthcare and increase capacity of the sanctuaries to provide veterinary care, three annual workshops were held in various African countries (Uganda, Republic of Congo and Cameroon) from 2003–2005. Participants included veterinarians, veterinary assistants, as well as sanctuary managers from the various sanctuaries. Didactic and practical sessions were conducted on topics relating to all aspects of healthcare of captive primates including preventive medicine, occupational health, nutrition, contraception, infectious and noninfectious diseases, neonatology, anesthesia and surgery, as well as laboratory and necropsy procedures. In addition, a PASA Veterinary Healthcare Manual has been produced that is a reference manual for the sanctuaries and provides standard operating procedures and other protocols. PASA has also been awarded a grant to improve the veterinary infrastructure at member sanctuaries and a questionnaire survey was conducted to determine the priority veterinary equipment needs. Immediate challenges to providing veterinary services to the sanctuaries include lack of infrastructure and remote location of some facilities, lack of access to veterinary supplies, lack of diagnostic support, and lack of expert consultation. Longer term challenges include the recruitment and training of African veterinarians and the establishment of standards of healthcare. Furthermore, reintroduction is a stated goal of PASA and disease risk analysis will need to be performed as well as development of protocols for disease screening and post-release health monitoring. The potential additional benefits of veterinary contributions to PASA include highlighting human health issues from the consumption of primate bush meat, and increased knowledge of primate tropical diseases and management of captive great apes in Africa. This will also be an opportunity to provide input on the health aspects of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Special Survival Commission (SSC) Guidelines for Non-human Primate Reintroduction1 as well as collaborate with the Great Ape Health Monitoring Unit (GAHMU; www.eva.mpg.de/primat/affiliated-research-groups/infectious-disease-lab-gahmu.html) (VIN editor: the original link was modified on 1/29/21).
1. Baker, L.R. (editor). 2002. World Conservation Union (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Re-introduction Specialist Group: Guidelines for Nonhuman Primate Re-introductions. Re-Introduction News No. 21 June 2002.