The Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division is now equipped with an anesthesia machine to provide avian treatment and surgery on small animals, including parrots.
The machine, costing about US$2,000, was made available by the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation based in Florida.
The anesthesia machine uses ventilation and a mask is used on the animal’s face to put it to sleep in order to have the surgery performed, unlike conventional machines which use injections or tablets.
Once the mask is removed after surgery, the animal wakes up in seconds.
The machine was presented to the Division on Friday morning.
Founding President and Director of Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, Dr. Paul Reillo, said the machine will be used to safely anesthetize animals “as needed for procedures which otherwise would be very risky procedures and also be very uncomfortable for the animals.”
Assistant Forestry Officer, Stephen Durand said over the past 18 years the government of Dominica, through the Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division has been collaborating with Rare Species Conservatory Foundation and a lot has been achieved in terms of the island’s Parrot Conservation Program.
“This is a lot of support for the Parrot Conservation Program on Dominica and we are happy that this people have really went all the way out for 18 years to continue supporting Dominica’s Parrot Program,” Durand said.
He said during a short training in Avian Medicine late last year in Florida, Dr. Reillo thought that it was important to have an anesthesia machine to assist when doing surgery on small animals on the island.
“So he went out and purchase a machine and sent it to Dominica,” Durand said.
Brian Richards, who is in the field of veterinarian medicine and who also attended the Avian Medicine training session in Florida where he learnt to operate the machine, said it will be put to good use.
“We will certainly put it into great use, because I think we really and truly needed a machine like that,” he said. “It is not only a machine that can be used for the avian species but it can be used in general.”
Meanwhile, Reillo has praised the Dominica Parrot Conservation Program as an exemplary one demonstrating the leadership of the Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division.
“The program has an overarching theme of conservation and wellness and a holistic approach to conservation, not just for parrots, but for wildlife in general to inspire an ethic of consciousness, awareness and stewardship on Dominica and really to inspire the world at this time of environmental and biodiversity crisis,” he noted.
He continued, “It is not overstating to say that we are losing the world’s natural resources and we are losing the world’s critical species. It is truly remarkable that this island nation has preserved so much of its native and biodiversity and it is really setting a high bar for the rest of the world to follow. If the rest of the world were doing what Dominica is doing we would be in a much better state in terms of biodiversity.”