The Indonesian widows’ eyes light up as they proudly tell us about their goats’ family history, grazing practices and stilted slat-floored night quarters. As we perform our physical examinations, the tough questions come up such as “Why has my goat only had stillbirths?” or “Does my goat have cancer?” Andrew Winterborn, DVM (a University of Rochester veterinarian from 2005-08) and I began a two-week mentoring program this month with Health in Harmony’s ASRI conservation staff on assessing herd health of goat and cattle.
The Goats for Widows program provides goats to widows in villages surrounding Gunung Palung National Park’s peat and cloud forest, home to 10% of the planet’s population (~2,500) of wild Bornean orangutans. The goats offer the widows and villages revenue streams and livelihood alternatives to logging the rainforest. Healthy goats and cattle are essential to program success. Being the first ASRI community-based animal health program, the veterinary team sent by Seneca Park Zoo’s American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) Chapter will over the next two weeks mentor ASRI conservation staff and farmers on best practices to diagnose, manage and prevent diseases and disorders as well as establish a program harmonizing healthy people, habitat, wildlife and now livestock, a model One Health Initiative.
– Dr. Jeff Wyatt, veterinarian