2017 Wildlife Disease Association (WDA) Conference in Chiapas, Mexico

Passing under el Árbol de Navidad, the most unique of Cañón del Sumidero’s seasonal waterfalls.

This past summer, I received a grant from Cornell’s Student Chapter of the Wildlife Disease Association (WDA) to travel to the WDA 66th Annual International Conference in San Cristóbal de las Casas, in Chiapas, Mexico. The Wildlife Disease Association was founded in 1951 by a group of scientists from US and Canada with the mission of acquiring, disseminating, and applying knowledge of the health and diseases of wild animals with respect to their biology, conservation, and interaction with humans and domestic animals. Although the United States contributes about half of its membership, the remaining members hail from all around the world, and the annual conference provides a venue for them to meet, exchange ideas, and present updates on their latest research. For me, it was an incredible opportunity to both learn about, and meet experts in, the field I hope to enter.

Second year vet student Kristie Schott class of 2020) holds a ball python during a Zoo and Wildlife Society (ZAWS) wet lab at Cornell.

Aside from a few keynote speakers, the conference mostly consists of short thematically grouped 18-minute presentations interspersed with coffee and snack breaks, during which time attendees have the opportunity to view the posters, which change daily. The volume of information was staggering – over the course of the conference, there were nearly 100 talks given and an equal number of posters presented. Since the WDA is not strictly a veterinary organization, but rather highly interdisciplinary, their meetings bring together veterinarians, wildlife management agencies, and researchers specializing in a wide range of topics pertinent to wildlife health. This fact was clearly reflected in the sheer breadth of topics covered in the talks and poster presentations, which ranged from pathology to evolutionary genomics, and from disease ecology modeling to reports on disease outbreaks and their implications for management and conservation. Speaking as someone interested in clinical zoo medicine, wildlife medicine, and wildlife disease research but unsure what form a career combining those focuses might take, this helped expand my awareness of the many approaches to studying and safeguarding wildlife health.

Another notable feature of the WDA is that it is remarkably student-friendly. A full day of the proceedings at each conference is dedicated to student talks and posters, and the WDA offers several student prizes and travel grants to recognize students’ achievements and support their participation in the conference. They also held a student-mentor mixer after dinner at the end of the first day, although without a clear way to tell who was a student and who was a mentor, I’m not sure if it was ultimately any more helpful than all the other less formally organized opportunities to mingle. Then again, as a fairly reserved and introverted person, I tend to struggle to take full advantage of those kinds of networking opportunities – what if I introduce myself and then can’t think of anything to say? How awkward that would be! Thankfully, the senior WDA members were generally quite friendly and eager to meet fresh faces.


Built in the 16th century, la Catedral de San Cristóbal overlooks the city’s main square, known as the Zócalo, as well as the Plaza de Paz.

Given its location, the conference also offered an opportunity to visit a beautiful place and catch a glimpse of its vibrant culture. This didn’t come without a price – I had to take three flights, sprint through the Mexico City airport at 7am to make a connection, and catch a bus from Tuxtla Gutierrez up into the mountains before finally setting foot on the cobbled streets of San Cristóbal – but it was well worth the journey. Located high in the mountains of the state of Chiapas, San Cris, as the locals call it, is considered the cultural capital of the region and features a large artisans’ market showcasing the richly colored textiles the area is known for as well as multiple museums dedicated to textiles and traditional local dress, chocolate, Mayan medicine, amber, and jade. Politically speaking, the city’s culture has also been influenced by the ideology of the Zapatista uprising and the movement’s charismatic spokesperson, Subcomandante Marcos. On New Year’s Day in 1994 – the day NAFTA went into effect – the city, along with several nearby municipalities, was seized by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, and although the Mexican army quickly regained control of the region, the Zapatistas used the uprising as a platform to raise global awareness of their agenda, which called for increased democratization of the Mexican government and indigenous control of local resources, particularly land. The group’s focus has since shifted from military action to civil resistance and politics, and local attitudes seem to remain sympathetic to the movement with a strong ethic of respect for indigenous rights clearly demonstrated in the numerous politically-minded cafes with posters of Zapatista quotes on their walls and shops sporting sign reading, “We respect indigenous rights – do you?”

One of a pair of spider monkeys placed in the canyon as part of a ZOOMAT conservation project.

Aside from its indigenous cultures, Chiapas is known for its natural beauty and biodiversity. The state boasts over 11,000 species, including 140 fish, 109 amphibians, 227 reptiles, 694 birds, 206 mammals, and 6.5% of the world’s butterfly species. The landscape, for its part, is speckled with beautiful mountain vistas, rivers, lakes, and waterfalls.  Sadly, I didn’t have enough time San Cris to experience much of this bounty, but thanks to the WDA’s tradition of inserting a field trip day into the middle of the conference, I did get to visit the spectacular Cañón del Sumidero.  Carved out by the Grijalva River, which travels 8 miles through the canyon’s vertical walls, Cañón del Sumidero is 1000 meters deep at the walls’ highest points, features several unique waterfalls, and is home to 4 protected species of fish, 12 protected reptiles, 195 species of birds, and 53 species of mammals. Depicted on the state’s coat of arms, the canyon is also a significant location in the culture and history of the region. The local Chiapanecas people resisted Spanish conquest for many years, and legend has it that when their last mountain stronghold had fallen, the remaining survivors retreated to the canyon and jumped from its highest point rather than risk being captured and enslaved. However, in spite of its ecological and cultural significance and its protected status as a National Park, the canyon is plagued by pollution with agricultural waste, sewage, and trash, particularly in the rainy season when runoff from heavy rains sweeps garbage from the streets of nearby cities into the river. On our way back through the canyon, we stopped at a bend in the river where the currents caused much of the trash to accumulate, choking the river in a massive tangle of plastics and driftwood. While our guides used this as a teachable moment to emphasize the importance of curbing pollution to protect natural places like the canyon, their lesson stopped at “be sure to dispose of your waste in the proper receptacle” with no mention of ways to reduce waste generation in the first place. Many people rely on disposable plastic water bottles when travelling, but there are ways to use reusable bottles while still ensuring that the water is safe – boiling water, for one, or using water treatment drops, as I did. While such alternatives may not be accessible to everyone, I think raising awareness of their existence is still an important component of conservation programming.

I highly recommend attending the WDA Annual International Conference to anyone who has the opportunity to do so. And while it’s definitely worthwhile to attend as a student even if you don’t have any research to present, I would also encourage anyone on the fence about submitting an abstract to go for it! Although our student WDA chapter offered a total of 4 grants to attend the conference, only 3 people applied, and, of those 3, I was ultimately the only one to attend the conference, which I think serves as a reminder that sometimes – maybe not often in this field, but sometimes – our biggest obstacle to taking advantage of an opportunity is submitting the application. I know I sometimes shut myself out of opportunities by telling myself that I’m unqualified or not ready and never applying, and maybe some of those times I’m right. But then again, maybe I’m not, and I’ll never find out if I don’t step out of my comfort zone and give myself a chance. The next conference will be August 5-10, 2018 in St. Augustine, Florida, and abstracts are due by March 1st. I hope to see some of you there!


A member of the class of 2020 at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Kristie grew up outside of Boston, MA and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2014 from Princeton University, where she concentrated in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and was first exposed to the field of wildlife disease research. She aspires to pursue a career combining clinical zoo and wildlife medicine with research on the ecology and epidemiology of diseases affecting her patients’ free-ranging populations.

Chimpanzee Medicine in the Republic of Congo

During the summer leading up to my third year of veterinary school, I worked with the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) in the Republic of Congo. As part of the college’s commitment to wildlife health and international medicine, Cornell has established a partnership with JGI through the Engaged Cornell Program. Engaged Cornell gives veterinary and undergraduate students the opportunity to apply concepts learned in the classroom to field sites in developing nations across the globe. Students can elect to take an on-campus course during the spring term and apply for the opportunity to continue their studies abroad during the summer. Upon return, they take a follow-up course in the style of a seminar series, to share their work with faculty and peers, and to learn about their classmates’ experiences. Thanks to Engaged Cornell, I was able to work at Africa’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary alongside one of the world’s leading experts in the field, Dr. Rebeca Atencia.

Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center is currently home to over 130 chimpanzees, most of which fell victim to the illegal bush meat and pet trades early on in life. Through the efforts of Dr. Atencia and her team of nurses and caregivers, these animals are being given a second chance. JGI is currently working to prepare a number of these chimpanzees for release back into the forest, where they will have the opportunity to live as wild apes once again. Before that can happen, however, they need to be both physically and psychologically fit to survive the harsh realities of life in the rainforest. My efforts this summer were put towards ensuring the capability of these chimps to thrive outside of the confines of the sanctuary.

Some of my time in Congo was spent performing routine “health checks,” or comprehensive physical exams, on animals under the care of JGI. I participated in the anesthesia, general examination, cardiac evaluation, and abdominal ultrasonography of over thirty chimpanzees. I learned basic skills such as taking blood pressure measurements, giving injections, and drawing blood, and more advanced skills such as abdominal ultrasound, echocardiography, and designing anesthesia regimes. I gained invaluable hands-on veterinary experience that I truly could not have gotten anywhere else.

Melissa Hanson describes the results of a chimpanzee electrocardiogram at the Tropical Biology and Conservation Symposium, October 2017.

In addition to medicine, I spent much of my time analyzing behavior and social interactions of the chimpanzees. I became versed in their verbal and non-verbal language, watched alliances form, and saw individuals rise to power and dominance within their community. A chimpanzee’s well-being relies heavily on its sense of security in its social group, and the health of a chimpanzee community depends on the degree of harmony amongst its members. The knowledge base I formed through careful observation was pivotal for my participation in data collection during the integration of new chimpanzees into established social groups. During an integration, JGI caregivers and veterinarians carefully record behaviors, to ascertain whether a chimp will be accepted by its conspecifics or not. Things happen very fast, so it is imperative that observers be well-acquainted with the chimps’ social cues. In time, I was confident enough with my skills to participate in this data collection, and even had the chance to make recommendations as to which individuals to introduce to the group.

My experience did not stop there, however. While in Congo, I also had the chance to work with a variety of unique native species, such as Mandrills, a Tree Pangolin, and African Grey Parrots. During time spent with JGI’s education and public health teams, I visited local villages to discuss conservation and sustainable agriculture with their people, as well as provide parasite preventatives for their pets. I also gained a lot of experience in the laboratory analyzing blood and fecal samples and screening for infectious disease among the chimps. Additionally, I participated in several ongoing research projects at Tchimpounga and even could explore some of my own interests and questions. One endeavor I am most proud of contributing to is the establishment of a preliminary body condition score (BCS) system for chimpanzees that will allow caregivers to monitor nutrition and well-being in a non-invasive manner. Hopefully, this scoring scheme will be used when the chimpanzees are being evaluated for their success in the forest after their release.

I am incredibly fortunate to have experienced all that I did this summer, and cannot thank the partners of JGI or Engaged Cornell enough for allowing me to pursue some of my greatest aspirations while still in veterinary school. Participating in chimpanzee medicine and rehabilitation allowed me to be a part of something much bigger than myself and to learn about a species with which I had never worked, but had always dreamed of. My time in Congo made me a better student, a better person, and will undoubtedly make me a better veterinarian in the years to come.


Melissa is a third-year veterinary student from Cortlandt Manor, New York. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Duquesne University where she majored in biology and minored in biochemistry and history. Her interests are in clinical zoo and wildlife medicine and particularly rescue, rehabilitation, and release. She works as student technician at the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center, a service of the Cornell University Hospital for Animals.

Buffalo Trypanosomiasis, A One Health Approach

In Indonesia, we traveled to a remote village, Cegog, the most remote village in Java and the buffer village closest to the protected Ujung Kulon National Park. To give some perspective on what it means to be a “buffer village”, the Rhino Protection Unit took a video recording of a large, adult male Javan Rhino just 4 km from where we were staying.

This trip was not originally planned as part of our internship. However, alarming results from a serological analysis done on the water buffalo in Cegog months earlier prompted an emergency response from WWF. The serological analysis was done on the entire 101 water buffalo by WWF veterinarians, Drs. Kurnia, Gita and Zulfiqri. The results yielded a 91% seroprevalence of trypanosomiasis in the herd. This is contradictory to the normal endemic prevalence of around 10% to 20%. Thus, this was an outbreak that required immediate action.

In mid-June, during our first field sampling trial in Sumur buffer village, we received the news. Dr. Nia and Dr. Gita asked me to help with the outbreak by first drafting a one page Emergency Outbreak Response Protocol for Trypanosomiasis in Water Buffalo. This legislation was to be sent to WWF headquarters in the United Kingdom, to grant us funding to address this outbreak and future outbreaks. It also was translated in Bahasa Indonesia to be distributed to government officials for approval to work in Cegog. This was the first time I have been involved with writing legislation, especially in the context of conservation. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and learned immensely from it.

From the literature and having a basic understanding about the bureaucracy behind Javan Rhino conservation, I tailored the document towards the economic benefits of addressing trypanosome outbreaks.  Money talks, when it comes to conservation.  I structured the protocol into four components. First, the treatments proven to be most effective in mitigating parasite loads in water buffalo: Diminazene Aceturate (DA) at 7 mg/kg intramuscular injection to a seropositive animal maximizes efficacy (often curative) and decreases the risk of parasite resistance. Next, I addressed the importance in creating good relationships between veterinarians and farmers. Farmer education of the life cycle, clinical signs, health impact, and economic loss accrued from chronic trypanosomiasis in their herd builds trust and incentive for a long term veterinary care. Additionally, informed farmers allow earlier detection of outbreaks and rapid response. The third component was diagnostic testing. Antibody Detection ELISA on blood samples from every buffalo during a suspected outbreak is the recommended method, with simultaneous trapping of Tabanid flies – the vector of trypanosomiasis – and PCR on fly blood meals for presence of trypanosomes. The fourth component was on prevention. Prevention requires creating a more proactive and structured approach towards dealing with trypanosomiasis. Yearly testing and physical assessment, along with farmer education and subsequent treatment of herds twice a year with effective drugs, are the most cost- and time-effective ways to reduce prevalence of trypanosomiasis. My conclusion reiterated that it is paramount to address these emergencies early and effectively, to not only reduce the economic burden on farmers and the Javan economy, but also to protect one of the most endangered and praised species to Indonesia: the Javan Rhino.

Dr. Nia and Dr. Gita really liked the approach I took towards addressing the outbreak, and distributed the document to be reviewed. Several weeks later, we received word that the request was approved.  We were going to Cegog to address the current outbreak and put what I had written into practice. I was then asked to create an abbreviated physical exam checklist to specifically address trypanosomiasis.

I used the same method we are taught in veterinary school to address a disease process. First, I tailored my history-taking questions towards identifying factors that may indicate the presence of chronic trypanosomiasis.  I asked farmers about the presence of abortion and about any decrease in market value in their herd, specifically regarding decreased weight and meat quality. Another important consideration is the function of the water buffalo outside the context of meat or extra revenue. These water buffalo are the organic machines that till their rice paddies and make work on the paddy much more efficient. This decreases the time it takes to farm and the number of personnel required to work on the farm, which allows other members of the family to work additional jobs or go to school. Chronic trypanosomiasis leads to chronic anemia, consequently causing cachexia (muscle wasting) and lethargy – decreasing the productive lifespan of the buffalo and the overall working interval for each buffalo.  This directly correlates to a less productive farm, and mitigates the listed benefits of owning buffalo.  Buffalo are sold earlier into slaughter, further decreasing the productive value of each buffalo and the number of birthing intervals possible. In order to assess the impact of trypanosomiasis on farm productivity, I tailored my questions towards these consequences.  From just an economic standpoint, it is clear that this disease has a complex net of negative impacts that further perpetuate the socioeconomic problems these remote villages face.

My next step was to customize the physical assessment to specifically look for trypanosomiasis, by looking for key clinical signs and establishing a diagnostic protocol to rule out other disease.  Thankfully, much of the diagnostic rule-outs have been established in this herd. The veterinary work done on this herd earlier in the spring ruled out many of the diseases that look like Trypanosoma evansi, such as hemorrhagic septicemia and anthrax (all diseases that were proposed to be a cause of mortality in the Javan Rhino). Using what I have learned from the physical exam of the cow in veterinary school, I created a checklist of clinical signs to look for the manifestations of chronic trypanosomiasis in water buffalo: TPR, clinical signs of surra (cachexia, lethargy, weakness, recumbency, CNS signs, conjunctivitis, edema, inappetence, dyspnea, diarrhea), and signs of anemia (pale mucous membranes, cold extremities from poor peripheral perfusion, lameness, tachycardia and bounding peripheral pulses).

With the checklist (also translated in Bahasa for Dr. Zulfiqri and Dr. Gita), we conducted physical exams on the entire water buffalo herd in three days. First, with mediation from Dr. Zulfiqri and Dr. Gita, we met with all of the farmers to educate them on the common disease of water buffalo, including trypanosomiasis, hemorrhagic septicemia and anthrax. We reiterated the negative impact these diseases have on their buffalo’s health, and thus the economic benefit of establishing veterinary care for the buffalo. We also brought multivitamin tablets, oral de-wormers and an intramuscular ATP and B-vitamin supplement. To promote good veterinary-farmer relations, it is paramount that our interventions do not end at simply coming to the village, assessing the buffalo, and then leaving. WWF made sure to give the buffalo medicine that would help promote immune system function, RBC and muscle regeneration and de-wormers to combat trypanosomiasis and secondary infection. This would hopefully show the farmers observable improvement in their buffalo which would reflect the benefits of continuing to allow veterinarians to assess the health of their herds in the future. Also, if we find clinical evidence of trypanosomiasis, establishing respect between veterinarian and farmer is critical in allowing WWF to later return and treat directly for trypanosomiasis.

Next, with approval from the farmers, we spent the three days working two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon to work with the herd of buffalo (101 individuals). During the day, the buffalo were led into the forest (the national park) to pasture. It is likely that buffalo walk the same paths the Javan Rhinos uses for browsing and foraging, which goes to show the urgency of a trypanosomiasis outbreak in this buffalo herd and the potential implications of disease transmission to the rhinos.

The PE success was variable on the buffalo. The buffalo are only tied by rope to a small piece of bamboo in the ground. There are no squeeze cages. The buffalo were also wild compared to their docile bovine cousins. Quite often, I would have to duck and dodge out of the way of their huge horns. I often had to rodeo with them to get temperatures or access a mucous membrane to look for pallor and CRT.  Overall, I produced about 20 thorough physical exams out of the 101. The rest were observational, relying more on the history, looking for key historical information such as abortion, lethargy and decreased productivity and wholesale value. For some, this may have seemed like a nightmare. But, I loved every second of it – diving out of the way from buffalo, rodeoing them to get any meaningful information.

What did we find from the work we did in Cegog? Results were highly variable between farmers. Some herds were in better condition than others. All herds had very high ectoparasite loads , and consequently had very poor skin condition and hair coat. Most herds had emaciated individuals and evidence of muscle wasting. Most farmer histories included decreased overall whole sale market price, lethargy and decreased productivity. Most herds had evidence of anemia (pallid mucous membranes, poor peripheral perfusion, prolonged CRT). Most animals were mildly dehydrated (5%). There were several herds with abortion storms, as well.

There were some hurdles that limited our ability to maximize the efficiency of our work. The buffalo were difficult to work with, and don’t like veterinarians – especially tall, white, hairy ones with Cornell scrubs. There was variable physical exam data, most being observational. Farmers were inherently wary of outsiders. We were the first foreigners this village had ever met. Dr. Zulfiqri and Dr. Gita were very helpful in mediating my questions on history. However, Dr. Zulfiqri and Dr. Gita seemed to think the farmers may have provided false information on history with regards to the presence of abortions and of illness and poor herd productivity. It is likely the conditions of these animals are far worse than I described.

So, what should we do next? Firstly, a more thorough PE survey must be done on every buffalo. I likely missed many individuals with fever and anemia due to lack of physical exam accessibility. Also, a more thorough diagnostic work-up, such as a CBC/chemistry and QATS, should be conducted on the most clinically sick buffalo. Finally, a more efficient system to developing the clinical history for individual buffalo, such as a number system for each farmer’s buffalo, though ear tattoos.

After I completed the summarized physical exam assessment of what I found in Cegog, I presented my findings to the WWF Ujung Kulon team. I think the information I gathered will be a great foundation and resource for when they return to Cegog for future work. After my presentation, the team discussed what they thought (all in Bahasa). Dr. Nia translated, reiterating that they had liked the way I presented in the context of One Health, especially regarding the economic benefit of establishing a better veterinary-farmer relationship. She told me that the work I did on the original one page emergency response protocol had prompted WWF to organize a group to go once a year to villages like Cegog to establish the treatment, education, diagnostic and prevention protocols I helped create. They also planned to make the missions One Health-focused, by including environmental scientists and human physicians to address public and environmental health problems.

All in all, there is a lot I learned from this experience about the complexity and bureaucracy in addressing conservation issues in Indonesia. I learned a lot about conducting veterinary work in a developing country. I also became more knowledgeable about the vector biology and clinical manifestations of trypanosomiasis in water buffalo. Additionally, regarding veterinary work in a developing country, I concluded that developing good veterinarian-farmer relations is paramount. Establishing preexisting trust is the only way to successfully educate farmers on the human, environmental, and animal health benefits for instituting long term veterinary care for their buffalo. Veterinary care for these buffalo not only enhances the economic gain for these villages, but reduces the risk of zoonosis between human and buffalo and reduces trans-species transmission of disease to the Javan Rhino and Banteng.

By utilizing the tools of One Health, we can address a vast array of conservation issues – from tackling problems locally, such as this example, to addressing national, international and global conservation issues. It is very clear to me now how complex these issues are. Not one person, nor one profession can fix all the complex problems involved in conservation. Confronting human, animal and environmental health requires collaboration between institutions, disciplines, cultures, and countries. I am beyond fortunate to have had this realization at the start of my veterinary career. I cannot wait to see what is in store for our profession and myself in the field of One Health.

Expanding Horizons Bio: Eric Teplitz (2020)

Eric Teplitz (2020) in Malawi through the Expanding Horizons program at CUCVM

My name is Eric Teplitz and I am a rising 2nd year veterinary student at Cornell. With an interest in infectious disease epidemiology, I participated in the Expanding Horizons Program with the goal of gaining applied research experience in the field. I established my research project with the Silent Heroes Foundation and the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust in Malawi, an organization that promotes wildlife rescue & research, advocacy, and conservation education. Illegal bushmeat and pet trading are prevalent practices in Malawi that are destructive to ecological health and biodiversity. The Lilongwe Wildlife Centre was established as a sanctuary for animals subjected to such crimes and aims to rehabilitate and release them into the wild.

I have been at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre for the past seven weeks, and I have another two weeks before returning home. In my free time, I’ve had several opportunities to travel, visiting South Luangwa National Park in Zambia and Liwonde National Park in Malawi. I’ve also had the unique experience of scuba diving in Lake Malawi, which has a greater diversity of fish species than any other lake on Earth!

My research objective is to provide additional information for the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust’s primate release program. Release strategies of captive wildlife are based on several factors that determine if, when, and how an animal will be reintroduced. One such factor is the risk of disease transmission from reintroduced animals to wildlife populations and humans, as failure to evaluate these risks can lead to unintended disease communication.

Salmonella and Shigella are groups of bacteria that colonize the intestine and cause diarrhea and inflammation of the gut lining. They are spread via fecal-oral transmission – the bacteria are shed in the feces and subsequently ingested by another animal. These bacteria infect nonhuman primates and humans globally and are therefore critically important for both wildlife conservation and public health. Unfortunately, Salmonella and Shigella are difficult to treat medically, and consequently studying the patterns of shedding is important for informing disease management strategies through an understanding of transmission dynamics. At the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, I am studying the shedding patterns of Salmonella and Shigella in primates.

The primary objective of my project is to identify temporal shedding patterns of Salmonella and Shigella as well as risk factors that affect shedding. Some examples include stress, age, sex, body condition, patient history, and concurrent parasitic infection. I designed a sampling schedule upon arrival, and currently I am collecting fecal samples for bacterial culture and diagnosing parasitic infections via fecal flotation. I have been evaluating stress through behavioral analysis, monitoring for behaviors that characteristically indicate stress in primates (such as pacing, self-grooming, and excessive scratching).

The project involves components of microbiology, primatology, and epidemiology, and the interdisciplinary expertise I gained during my first year of veterinary school has allowed me to conduct my research successfully. Designing and implementing an epidemiology study has been a useful learning experience as I find ways to adapt to logistical and technical constraints while in Malawi. Throughout the past several weeks, I have become more familiar with the procedures for primate integrations and reintroductions, which has guided my experimental design so that I can provide the most important information. In my remaining two weeks in Lilongwe, I will do my best to produce useful data!

Wildlife Health Cornell takes new approach to natural world

This month, Cornell welcomed back thousands of alumni from many different locations, generations, interests, and affiliations to their home on The Hill. This was a very special weekend for Wildlife Health Cornell, because it was the first time that this initiative was publicly presented. The Reunion Weekend 2017 panel is just the beginning of the gradual unveiling of Wildlife Health Cornell. Stay tuned for more to come!

To read more about the Reunion Weekend panel, click here.

To read the first Wildlife Health Cornell newsletter, click here.

Wildlife Health Cornell represents an unprecedented approach to the health challenges wild animals face here in the northeast U.S. and around the world  – a comprehensive, science-based response by a team of the world’s top wildlife health experts.  With an emphasis on the types of interdisciplinary collaboration often required to foster real progress along the science to policy and action continuum, Wildlife Health Cornell has grown out of a palpable sense of genuine urgency regarding the fate of our planet’s wildlife, an increasing understanding of our own dependence on the planet’s natural systems, and a recognition that it will take a new generation of colleagues to halt and reverse the trends we face.

Cornell University today is very much about impact, about teamwork that capitalizes upon the vast array of disciplinary expertise available across the university, and about engagement. We hope you find this first edition of our e-newsletter useful and thought-provoking.

– Steve Osofsky, DVM
Jay Hyman Professor of Wildlife Health & Health Policy