India, US launch advance training programme for zoo officials

Smithsonians national zoo
Smithsonians national zoo

INDIA and the US have signed an agreement to launch an advance training programme for zoo officials in a bid to develop conservation strategies for endangered species.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Dennis Kelly, director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, and D N Singh, member secretary of Central Zoo Authority of India, at the National Zoo in Washington last week.

As part of the advanced training programme, scientists, veterinarians and other animal care professionals from the National Zoo and Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute will host training courses for animal care professionals working in Indian zoos.

Topics will range from preventive medicine to comprehensive animal nutrition, a statement said.

Scientists will also collaborate on wildlife health and disease surveillance, which will range from administering anesthesia to animals in zoos and in the field, to containing and preventing the spread of contagious diseases in wild animals.

The MoU, for one year, will enable both countries to create conservation strategies that integrate sustainable development practices for all highly endangered species and species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List native to India.

All of the research and training courses will be conducted in India, the statement said.

“I was lucky enough to travel to India last year and see critically endangered rhinos, and that experience was inspiring,” said Kelly, director of the National Zoo in Washington.

“We have worked with colleagues in India for decades, and now with this program we’ll be collaborating even more closely to understand and protect endangered animals,” he said.