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«By Annina Riikonen Miriam Kenic Supervisor: Professor Jorge Moreno-Lopez BVF, Department of Parasitology and Virology - Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet ...»

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PRESERVING THE BIODIVERSITY OF THE

ECUADORIAN RAINFOREST: Basic healthcare, nutrition

and parasitic control of common Amazonian animal species held

at the model farm “Centro Fátima”

By

Annina Riikonen

Miriam Kenic

Supervisor: Professor Jorge Moreno-Lopez

BVF, Department of Parasitology and Virology

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet Examensarbete 2006:nr 1 Fakulteten för veterinärmedicin och ISSN 1652-8697 husdjursvetenskap Uppsala 2006 Veterinärprogrammet Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Degree project 2006:no 1 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and ISSN 1652-8697 Anmial Sciences Uppsala 2006 Veterinary Medicine Programme This work intends to describe the experiences gained during a two months period in the rain forest in Ecuador and give some recommendations for improving the wellbeing of the animal species that are held at Centro Fátima. This is also a compilation of information and a review of the literature regarding the characteristics and properties of the natural habits of those animals and a description, of some common diseases, disorders and treatments. As a part of this project, most of the animals were de-wormed and nutritional and medical advice was written for almost every species.

CENTRO FATIMA

9 Km via Puyo-Tena Provincia de Pastaza Ecuador-S.A.

Casilla/Postal 16-01-800 Tel/Fax (Tienda Yanapuma): 593-03-883-787 2

PRESERVING THE BIODIVERSITY OF THE ECUADORIAN RAINFOREST: BASIC

HEALTHCARE, NUTRITION AND PARASITIC CONTROL OF COMMON AMAZONIAN

ANIMAL SPECIES HELD AT THE MODEL FARM “CENTRO FÁTIMA”

SUMMARY

SHORT INFORMATION ABOUT ECUADOR

ANIMAL WELFARE

THE VETERINARY MEDICINE IN ECUADOR

CENTRO FÁTIMA

SNAKES

Red-tailed boa - Boa constrictor constrictor-

Rainbow boa - Epicrates cenchria maurus

RECOMMENDATIONS

Housing

Nutrition

Temperament and handling

Some diseases and disorders and recommendations of treatment

TORTOISES

Yellow footed tortoise - Geochelone denticulata

RECOMMENDATIONS

Nutrition

Some disorders and diseases and recommendations of treatment

TURTLES

Giant Amazonian river turtle - Podocnemis expansa.

Yellow-spotted Amazonian river turtle - Podocnemis unifilis.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Housing

Nutrition

Some disorders and diseases and recommendations of treatment

BIRDS

Macaws

Severe Macaw (Ara severa )

Blue Gold Macaw (Ara ararauna)

Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao)

Green Wing Macaw (Ara chloroptera)

Mealy Amazon (Amazona farinose)

Blue-headed parrot (Pionus menstrus)

RECOMMENDATIONS

Housing

Nutrition

Some disorder and diseases and recommendations of treatment

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Literature

Internet sources

Interview

3 SUMMARY In order to preserve the rainforest and the animal species, it is essential to create an understanding for the habitat and its creatures. Therefore it is of great value that there is a place like Centro Fátima, which cares and breeds animals from the jungle in a natural environment and show these animals to the rural population and tourists. The Center has created a model farm for preservation of the Amazonas animal species. The three main goals of Centro Fatima are a) to teach native Indians through practical courses and lectures about how to breed and hold those animals, b) to promote sustainable ecotourism and c) create similar Centers in other parts of the country. In this way a greater understanding and respect for the rainforest and its animals is gained. This report contains information about housing, nutrition and medical management of some animal species held at Centro Fátima. It is written as a handbook for the Center to help to promote good health and wellbeing of the animals living there.

SHORT INFORMATION ABOUT ECUADOR

–  –  –

4 5 The Oriente Region: Provinces: Morona Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Sucumbios and Zamora Chinchipe. This tropical, warm and humid environment has luxuriant foliage, with a lot of fruit trees and green plants. These surroundings are very favourable for the natural inhabitants of the jungle, but not suitable for imported species. Horses, donkeys, cattle etc. could not profit from the plants in the rain forest, which led to poor growth, undernourishment and a short lifespan. They could eat the plants but were unable to extract any larger amounts of energy.

Besides, the warm and humid climate supports insects and other parasites, which adds additional problems. These animals could not reproduce as expected. Dogs (and a few cats) ran around freely. The cats fed on mice that they caught and were also held to serve this purpose. Dogs were mostly held to guard property. De-worming was unusual, and only done regularly by breeders and a few others. Dogs often suffer from internal parasites, which needed to be cured with expensive drugs not available in the common store or at every veterinary clinic.





The Andean Region (mountains): Provinces: Azuay, Bolívar, Cañar, Carchi, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, Imbabura, Loja, Pichincha and Tungurahua. As this region of the country is located high above the sea level, it is relatively cold, and the vegetation is quite similar to that found in Sweden during summer. The cattle, llamas, alpacas, horses and donkeys held in this area were therefore in good shape. Dogs and cats were not as common as in the villages in the Oriente or at the coast. A lot of poultry were held in these parts of Ecuador. These animals were bred for food or for use in cockfights. In the mountains it is also popular the bull fights. Guinea pigs and rabbits are also common domestic animals, bred for food for special occasions.

The Coast Region: Provinces: El Oro, Esmeraldas, Guayas, Los Ríos and Manabí. The coast has one dry and one rain season. During the dry period there is not much vegetation. The horses and cattle had to depend on what was managed to be “stored” during the green period. Horses were used by tourists for riding at the beach. In some areas along the coast, houses are often built on poles, to avoid damage by floods during the rain season. Dogs and cats at the coast are well fed, thanks to the large fishing industry.

ANIMAL WELFARE

At the whole the animal welfare was not in focus in Ecuador. The animal transportations in the country over all were not designed in the best interest of the animals. If one was to travel with a local bus with animals like hens and guinea pigs these were simply put on the roof of the bus (in sacks or cages). Children were warned to beware of dogs (due to the risk of rabies) and for preventing them from coming close, some violent methods were used. They also did not have much respect for other animals. It was hard to get through the value of these animals and the importance of avoiding extinction in the jungles, since monkeys etc. often only caused damage to property, and was considered as harmful animals.

THE VETERINARY MEDICINE IN ECUADOR

There are several Veterinary Faculties in the country; 2 each in Guayaquil and Quito, one each in Cuenca, Ambato, Loja and Portoviejo and a couple of other cities. However, the universities have very different standards and different reputation. The best universities are those in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca but are also more expensive. Medicines are easily accessible in the shops without prescription. The personnel in the stores are quite well informed, but it is recommended to consult a veterinarian on how to use the drugs, and dosages. Medicines are relatively 6 expensive. More interest is given to vitamins, minerals and other supplements. Compared to Sweden, the veterinary care is extremely cheap, but it is still a lot of money to the local inhabitants, and sick animals are not often taken to the veterinarian. In the the Amazonas-area there are difficulties in de-worming dogs that often suffer from sometimes fatal, blood-sucking internal parasite, which needs to be cured with expensive drugs. The more skilled veterinarians often make necropsies in Ecuador. However, neutering is uncommon; people rather give pet’s preventive pills if they prefer not to get offspring. In certain areas dog rabies is a huge problem and owners are obligated to vaccinate annually free of charge. Once every year in cities with a lot of stray dogs the sanitary authorities place poisoned meat along the streets to get rid of the potential rabies carriers. The local people are informed in advance, so they can keep their pets inside their homes.

CENTRO FÁTIMA

Centro Fátima is the name of a model farm in which this study was carried out during a period of around two months. Centro Fátima is situated in the Ecuadorian province of Pastaza, fifteen minutes by car from Puyo, the capital of the province. The center was founded nearly seventeen years ago. It consists of 28 hectares of mainly recovering secondary forest, pastures and paths, but also of some remaining primary forest. The area is located 1,000 meters above sea level in a very humid tropical forest. The average temperature is 21° C, the relative air humidity is 85% and the annual amount of rain is 4,000mm. The center has created a model farm for preservation of indigenous animal species. The three main goals of Centro Fatima are a) to teach native Indians through practical courses and lectures about how to breed and hold those animals, b) to promote sustainable ecotourism and c) create similar centers in other parts of the country.

For centuries Indians have been hunting the local animals in order to get meat. This has contributed to a rapid decrease in number of those animals. The deforestation has also contributed to this and the natural habitats of these animals are threatened. If the rural population could breed these animals instead of hunting them, the wild animals would be preserved from extinction. At the same time the Indian population would have easy accessible and inexpensive food. Those animals also serve as an alternative to e.g. cattle production, which demand large areas for grazing and contributes to the erosion and deforestation of the sensitive environment.

Unfortunately, little is known about the major animal health problems of these local animals in conditions of domestic production and therefore an inventory of nutrition, diseases and their etiological agents is necessary.

To promote and develop a sustainable ecotourism is also one of the main goals of Centro Fátima.

Ecotourism is a significant source of revenues and contribution not only toward the financing of this particular habitat but also for promoting the “green profile”. The Centro Fátima receives help from OPIP (Organizacion de Pueblos Inigenas de Pastaza). This is the largest Indian organization working for preservation of the local culture. The last couple of years also a Swedish organization (Framtidsjorden) has contributed with funds for the Center. However, most of the money comes from the ecotourism. Centro Fátima is also dependent on volunteers from all over the world.

7 Here follows a list of the animal species found at Centro Fatima. We will also describe the distribution of some of these species and give some recommendations regarding animal behaviour, housing, diseases and general management of them. In this review we have chosen to present data about the species that have relevance for veterinary practitioners in Sweden (dogs excluded). This is a compilation of information and our own experiences at the Centro Fatima.

–  –  –

8 SNAKES Red-tailed boa - Boa constrictor constrictorRed-tailed boas, also commonly known by their Latin name - Boa Constrictor - are widespread throughout Central and South America, including the Amazon. They are beautifully colored in a brownish grey and black pattern, with a red and brown tail, which, when the snake is coiled, could be mistaken to belong to another snake. This because its tail color differs totally from the rest of the animal. Juveniles generally have brighter coloration, and are more arboreal than the considerably heavier adults

Rainbow boa - Epicrates cenchria maurus

Rainbow boas are one of the less frequently encountered in the Amazonas, and finding one is always a visual treat. It is often said to be the most beautiful of all boas. The colors vary from yellow to reddish brown. It has large, dark circles on the back and smaller on the sides, which has a beige color in the middle. Their abdomen is light grey or white. The head is not particularly large, but it is distinctly wider than the neck. This is a soft-skinned boa with great iridescence in 9 its skin. Rainbow boas are brown or reddish brown snakes. Rainbow Boas are widely distributed across the whole of the South American mainland and some of the outlying islands, inhabiting a varied range of environments, but mainly humid jungle type habitats. Individuals can reach lengths of 2m or more, though most animals do not reach this size and many of the sub-species are much smaller. Most sub-species of Rainbow Boa will live for 20 to 25 years in captivity.

The Centro Fátima has several boas, both red-tailed and rainbow boas. They came and went – the police brought snakes caught at customs, and later they were released again into the wild. The snakes lived in a 13-angled cage, with a circumference of 19.25m and with a height of 2.2m. The snakes were fed only young chickens. New diets were tried to the rainbow boas.

Recommendations To improve the health of the snakes, the following advice were written, and left at the centre.



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