EVENT: Saving Wildlife & “Wildlands” in Central Belize

What: The Zoo and Wildlife Society (ZAWS) will be hosting a lunch lecture with the education director at the Belize Zoo & Tropical Education Center, Jamal Andrewin.  The presentation will celebrate the partnership between Cornell’s College of Vet Medicine and the Belize Zoo, and it will cover ways in which students and faculty can get involved.

When: Friday, November 3rd, 12:00-12:50 pm

Where: LH2

Event: ZAWS October Journal Club – Avian Disease

Date:         Monday, October 16th, 6pm
Location:  Centennial Room (S2 120)
Theme:     Avian Disease

How to get involved with Journal Club:
– Choose one of the 10 journal articles attached below and read it prior to journal club
– Send your article selection to Dr. Hopf by Saturday, October 14th
– Bring any questions, comments, points of discussion that the article may have raised for you (the more you bring the better!)
– Feel free to come with any questions you may have for how the papers relate to the practice of medicine/your curriculum
-We’ll cover different journals (JZWM, JWD, JAMS, JEMS, JEPM, etc.) and themes every month so feel free to make a request.
– Dr. Hopf will guide the discussion and answer questions.

See the ZAWS listserv email for sign-up information.

Events: Professor Andrew Dobson


Professor Andrew Dobson of Princeton University is coming to Cornell as an Andrew D. White Professors-at-Large to give two talks:

  1. “What have birds told me about old and emerging pathogens” on Tuesday October 17th at 5 pm in lecture hall 4 of the vet school atrium
  2. “Elephants, Ivory and the Wildlife Trade” on Thursday October 19th at 5:30 pm in Call Auditorium, Kennedy Hall

For more information on Dr. Dobson’s research, go to his lab’s website: https://www.princeton.edu/~dobber/

Event: Wildlife Forensics at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Join ZAWS next Thursday (March 9th, 2017) for a web-talk dinner lecture at 6PM, with NOAA Forensic Analyst Trey Knott! Learn how forensics can help stop seafood fraud and can be used to identify poaching of protected and endangered species.

From swabbing blood stains on boat decks to identify endangered sea turtle species or sharks killed for their fins, to going undercover to a restaurant serving whale sushi, to figuring out if a carved figurine is made out of whale bone or cow bone, forensic scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Forensic Laboratory work to analyze evidence collected during the investigation of civil and criminal violations of laws protecting marine species.

The Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammals Protection Act are easy for most of us to interpret – don’t hunt or trade in products from endangered species or marine mammals.

But have you heard of seafood fraud?

A 2013 Oceana study conducted DNA analysis on over 1,200 commercial fish samples from across the US, and found that over 30% of the samples were mislabeled. 87% of fish labeled as “red snapper” were actually different species of fish. 44% of all the retail outlets visited sold mislabeled fish, including 74% of sushi outlets and 38% percent of restaurants.

These seafood substitutions aren’t just semantics. The fish on your plate might be an overfished or protected species, might be labeled as wild-caught even though it was farm-raised, or may be hiding toxins or contaminants with adverse health effects. 84% of white tuna samples in the Oceana study were actually escolar – a snake mackerel that produces a gastrointestinal toxin. The sale of escolar is banned in Italy and Japan, other countries have issued health advisories, and our FDA advises against its sale in the United States.

There’s a lot more going on below the surface, and it’s NOAA’s job to stop it.

Canine Distemper in the Amur Tiger

Dr. Martin Gilbert came to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2016 as a Senior Research Associate with the Wildlife Health and Health Policy Group.

From Dr. Gilbert’s LinkedIn:

I am interested in pursuing health-related research that has direct relevance to the conservation of wildlife, particularly carnivores and scavengers. This includes approaches to understand how endangered species are impacted at a population level by infectious disease (such as canine distemper virus in free-ranging Amur tigers), as well non-infectious agents (such as the pharmaceutical diclofenac in Asian vultures). Health processes can also impact predator populations indirectly, in circumstances where disease influences the availability of prey resources. In each of these situations disease processes must be understood at a landscape scale, whether through the epidemiology of multi-host pathogens operating across the domestic-wild interface, or through the social drivers that influence the use of toxic compounds in the environment. The road to addressing these issues begins in the field, and requires a multi-disciplinary approach, drawing on a diversity of skills that includes (but is not limited to): ecology, pathology, clinical medicine, molecular biology, microbiology, toxicology, population modelling, spatial analytics, sociology and ultimately policy. By fostering such collaborative partnerships we gain a more complete understanding of wildlife health issues, creating a platform to identify practical measures to mitigate the conservation impact on species in the wild.