2017 Special Species Symposium at Cornell University

Chris, our Director, observed Earth Day this year with a weekend at the Special Species Symposium coordinated by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine's Zoo and Wildlife Society.

This annual symposium  brings together students and professionals interested in veterinary medicine and animal management as it relates to “special species,” including zoo animals, wildlife, exotics, and pocket pets.  This year's symposium theme focused upon climate change and it's impacts. Dynamic programming addressed how climate change is altering species survival, and what veterinarians are doing, and can do, to mitigate the negative effects of climate change.

Chris had the opportunity to attend lectures of a scientific nature and labs. Some of the lecture topics included the following impactful subjects:

  • Dr. Steve Osofsky, DVM spoke about wildlife health in a rapidly changing world.
  • Dr. Robin Radcliff, DVM,  DACZM presented “Krakatau, Sea Levels and Disease: Risks to the last population of Javan rhinos on earth.”
  • Dr. John Hermanson, PhD, discussed local impacts of White-nose syndrome (a disease affecting bats) on bat populations.
  • Dr. Maria Forzan, DVM,PhD, DACVP discussed the influence of climate on emerging diseases of amphibians
  • Our friends at the Wolf Conservation Center of South Salem, New York also provided an engaging lecture. Rebecca Bose, BS, Curator of WCC presented “Saving A Species: A Veterinary Perspective on Mexican Grey Wolf and Red Wolf Conservation.”

One of the labs Chris attended focused on "Turtle Shell Repair."

Chris' lab partner was an enthusiastic veterinary student.

Chris learned a repair method which includes materials easily obtained at a hardware store. With this treatment, the turtle's bony plates can be reconnected and held in place allowing them to fuse together with time. 

Although we do not offer wildlife rehabilitation at Animal Embassy, this is a helpful skill to have under one's belt in case of emergency. During breeding season, many turtles face severe traffic injuries when crossing roads which lie in the midst of their habitats. Should you come upon injured wildlife, we recommend that you contact a local, licensed wildlife rehabilitators. For Connecticut residents, the CT DEEP provides an extensive list of licensed individuals here: CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. If you reside in New York, you can learn more here: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Both websites offer information about how to proceed when discovering orphaned or injured wildlife.

Participants also had the chance to tour the raptor barn at the college, where Chris had a “reunion” with Dr. Heather Huson, Director of the Cornell Raptor Program of Cornell University’s Department of Animal  Science.  They reconnected after over twenty years when they both worked at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science.

Dr. Howard Evans' has an incredible collection of wildlife artifacts in his office. Chris thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to visit this artifact "museum." Pictured above is a Monkfish skeleton.

The topics and challenges discussed at the symposium are close to our hearts. Chris noted “Spending time with the next generation of veterinarians, and some of their professors, was educational, inspiring and an amazing way to observe Earth Day.”

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