A few days ago, our Supervisor for the Department of Primates and Small Mammals, veterinarian Belén Roca, participated actively in the Animal Welfare course in Wildlife organized by the AVAFES student association (Veterinarians for the Care of the Exotic and Wild Fauna); destined for students and professionals of areas like veterinary, biology or environmental sciences.
According to Belen herself, it was a privilege, not only to have the opportunity to represent the park and her work to other professionals, but also because she was the only speaker “EX-AVAFERA”, an entity to which she belonged in her time being a student at the University of Murcia. The presence of Belén served as an example and motivation for the students who participated in the course and who wish to dedicate themselves, like her, to the exciting world of wildlife.
Belén developed three papers. In the first one, “Pathology derived from captivity: the magic of handling”, Belén addressed the five freedoms that every animal should have in order to ensure their well-being in captivity, As well as the pathologies that derive when at some point in its life, one of these freedoms is not fulfilled properly. Many of the injuries can be reversed, but in most cases, they are irreparable and leave lifelong consequences in individuals. Belén presented different clinical cases and how they could be solved simply with a good management program (Including veterinary prophylaxis, EA, Nutrition, training and design of facilities). The second paper, “Zoos yes, zoos no” served as a presentation for a subsequent roundtable, which dealt with very interesting aspects. Here she was able to present Oasis Park as an example of a modern zoo, which is advancing along a path that will lead to achieving the goals of zoos in the future. The last of the presentations, of “Animal welfare in small mammals”, Focused on talking about the animals of this type that we have in the park, our management of them, how we solve certain situations that have arisen or the design of their facilities.
On this day, Belén also had the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences face to face with different experts with whom she had collaborated and maintained a professional relationship from a distance. This is the case with Esther Valderrábano - Veterinarian and zoo trainer from Marcelle Natureza in Lugo; Miquel Llorente –Director of APE (Asociación Primatológica Española - Spanish Primatological Association)-, an eminence in the world of primatology; of the Wildfare team, A team of young biologists and veterinarians who focus their research on primate welfare. From these encounters came ideas of very interesting projects that we hope to be able to start soon.
In the words of Belén, It was a highly enriching experience for everyone!