Q: What is the Durga Wildlife Fund?
A: The Durga Wildlife Fund is a U.S. 501(C)3 nonprofit charity dedicated to creating sustainable solutions to save endangered species, protect the wilderness, and care for animals in need.
Our motto is: Working Locally Around the World.
Our broader mission is to foster empathy, compassion, and respect for nature.
Q: What does “Working locally around the world” mean?
A: By “Working Locally” we mean small, well-focused programs, that involve and respect local populations in areas where wildlife is threatened.
We encourage taking care of the problems in our own back yard—which is why we support conservation efforts in our home state of North Carolina—and always listening to those who have local knowledge.
We believe in the power of flexible “bottom-up,” rather than rigid all-encompassing “top-down” solutions.
By “Working locally around the world,” we mean supporting these kinds of local conservation programs wherever wildlife is in need.
Q: Where is the Durga Wildlife Fund located?
A: We are headquartered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Q: What Does the Name Durga Mean?
Durga is a deity in Hindu mythology, and is popularly considered as a representation of motherhood and the power of nature. She is a defender of the good, and a protector against evil. Durga rides a tiger (or lion) which gives her the protection of an apex predator, and she in turn protects the forest.
Durga and her tiger are a symbol of the empathy and respect between nature and humankind that we at Durga Wildlife Fund strive to inculcate in our society.
While the Durga Wildlife Fund is a fundamentally secular organization, we believe that Durga is an inspiring symbol of both the power and beauty of Mother Nature, and of the fight to protect her.
Q: What is a wildlife veterinarian?
A: A Wildlife Veterinarian is a doctor who treats wild animals. Wild animal medicine is a highly specialized branch of veterinary medicine.
Wildlife vets work in diverse conditions ranging from highly specialized clinics to rugged and remote field conditions. Wildlife medicine involves a multi-dimensional approach of veterinary medicine, ecology, forensics, behavior, animal welfare, rehabilitation, pollution science, etc.
A wildlife vet often has to demonstrate good leadership and administrative skills in order to mediate conflicts between humans and wildlife.
The life of a wildlife vet is full of challenges, adventures, and adrenaline.
Q: How does the Durga Wildlife Fund help wildlife veterinarians?
The Durga Wildlife Fund works with wildlife veterinarians around the world to develop programs that protect endangered species and care for animals in need.
We fund programs and send supplies to wildlife veterinarians who rescue and treat animals in the wild.
We support mobile wildlife veterinary ambulances in Indonesia and Thailand. These programs not only help treat elephants, and other wild animals, but are also used to train veterinary students in wildlife medicine.
Q: What is a Ring Vaccination?
A ring vaccination is an attempt to vaccinate domesticated, stray, and feral animals—against diseases that can be spread to wild animals—everywhere in the areas that surround a wildlife refuge, such as a national park.
Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, in Tamil Nadu, India, is not a popular destination for tourists but is home to more than one hundred tigers and therefore has significant conservation value.
Tigers are not only threatened by poaching, habitat loss, and conflicts, but also by disease outbreaks. In other nature parks, there have been instances of wild cat populations being affected by disease epidemics.
In order to protect the tiger population of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Durga Wildlife Fund and World Veterinary Society developed a pilot program. This involves Ring Vaccination. Dogs infected with canine distemper virus can transmit the disease to tigers. It is impossible to vaccinate and re-vaccinate tigers in the wild. Therefore, dogs living in the villages at the periphery of the reserve are vaccinated against canine distemper infection. This is similar to creating a bio-bubble. Repeated vaccinations can reduce the probability of transmission of infection from domestic animals to wildlife.
Ring Vaccination is a dynamic approach in the management of one of the tiger populations in India.
Q: What is a mobile veterinary ambulance?
A: Durga Wildlife Fund’s Wildlife Ambulance Project in Indonesia is a unique long-term approach to provide immediate support for trapped and injured wildlife.
The project is in collaboration with Syiah Kuala University, Banda Aceh and International Elephant Project, and has been successful in the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife ranging from elephants, orangutans, sun bears to birds species.
The Ambulance is capable of delivering its services to wide species of wildlife in the region with a broad range of medicines and equipment.
In order to reach out to remote areas, our team has to travel long distances without being able to predict the challenges they are going to face in the field.
The project is functionally the single most successful program in Indonesia.
The Wildlife Ambulance Project uniqueness is its aim for sustainable conservation of wildlife through transfer of knowledge and practical exposure on wildlife medicine from one generation of experienced wildlife veterinarians to future veterinarians.
Durga Wildlife Fund intends to replicate the same model to other areas of Indonesia to mitigate man-animal conflict and develop awareness among locals for wildlife conservation.
Q: What is “TNR”?
A: TNR stands for Trap Neuter, and Return. It is the most effective and humane way of controlling feral cat populations. Feral cats are trapped, then taken to a veterinarians’s office where they are spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and treated for any injuries. Then they are returned to their home ranges. This prevents a population explosion, and also helps protect the colony and other animals from diseases.
Q: Why does the Durga Wildlife Fund support programs for endangered species such as elephants and tigers in Asia, but also support TNR programs in the U.S.A.?
A: We believe that there are several practical reasons for supporting both programs that focus on feral animals as well as programs that focus on wild and endangered animals.
• Working with feral cats and dogs gives volunteers and veterinary students a chance to work with animals that are semi-wild and may not be used to human contact.
• Keeping feral cat and dog populations under control helps protect birds and other wild prey species.
• Vaccinating feral animals helps prevent diseases that can be spread to wild populations.
• Bringing TNR volunteers into a conservation network helps spread knowledge and awareness about wildlife and endangered species.
Q: How can I help Durga?
A: • Spread the word: share our programs on social media;