The Envirovet Program in Wildlife and Ecosystem Health (http://vetmed.illinois.edu/envirovet/) was established by Dr. Val Beasley of the University of Illinois in 1991 and has always been a collaborative effort with other universities and a wide array of faculty members. The first Envirovet summer course was organized in concert with the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the University of Wisconsin-Superior and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Freshwater Ecology Laboratory in Duluth and was oriented solely to aquatic animal health and ecotoxicology. Beginning in 2000, with partnership from University of California at Davis (UC Davis) and in collaboration with Tufts University, the Summer Institute incorporated terrestrial animals and developing country concerns. Developing countries that hosted sessions to date have included Kenya, Brazil, South Africa and Swaziland, and Tanzania.
The overall Envirovet Program today is a group effort that relies on diverse forms of support, and has two main thrusts, the Summer Institute (http://www.cvm.uiuc.edu/envirovet/ and http://www.cvm.uiuc.edu/envirovet/webvideo/index.htm) and the development of regional initiatives, the first of which is Envirovet Baltic (http://www-cru.slu.se/CRUre15.pdf). Current partnering institutions for the Summer Institute include the Wildlife Health Center of UC Davis, White Oak Conservation Center, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Sokoine University, and Tanzania National Parks. The Director of the White Oak (largely terrestrial) portion is Dr. Kirsten Gilardi of the Wildlife Health Center at UC Davis; the aquatic unit at Harbor Branch is organized by Dr. Beasley; and the Director of the developing country portion in Africa is Dr. Deana Clifford who
works in concert with Dr. Jonna Mazet also of the Wildlife Health Center, Dr. Rudovick Kazwala of Sokoine University, and Dr. Titus Mlengeya of Tanzania National Parks. In recent years, the Envirovet Summer Institute has received financial support from student course fees, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Without Borders Program, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Eli Lilly and Company, the Russell E. Train Educational Fund for Nature of the World Wildlife Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. In addition, the Summer Institute benefits from the donated time of the U.S.- and Canada-based faculty members and generous in-kind support from White Oak Conservation Center.
The Envirovet Summer Institute begins in mid-June at White Oak Conservation Center in northeastern Florida (http://www.wocenter.org/) with two weeks of immersion-style learning about the big drivers that undermine health and biodiversity. Also included are proven intervention methods to yield positive short- and long-term gains. This unit includes: the value of biodiversity, ecosystem economics, and environmental law and policy; epidemiology; and the basis for disease emergence and resurgence, including efficient diagnostic tools. It addresses methods for restoration of populations of threatened or endangered species in the wild, including wildlife capture and translocation—and provision of ample habitat. It also focuses on counteracting overharvest, poaching, invasive exotic species, and predator-prey imbalances.
Throughout this unit, ways to reduce risks to public, domestic animal, and wildlife health from shared infectious diseases are strongly emphasized. The Summer Institute continues with two-weeks of intensive instruction in aquatic animal health, ecotoxicology, and ecosystem rehabilitation at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (http://www.hboi.edu/index_05.html). This unit begins with instruction on the dynamics of aquatic ecosystems and how they are assessed. It focuses on the sources, fate, detection and control of contaminants, explains the causes of—and solutions for—declines in major ocean fish communities, as well as fisheries impacts on the food supply of marine mammals. It provides contact with environmentally-beneficial aquaculture, teaches the causes of marine mammal strandings, and first-hand experience in forensic studies. The aquatic unit stresses opportunities for better stewardship of aquatic ecosystems and animal populations to enable recovery of aquatic biodiversity, cleaner water supplies, and more and safer fish and shellfish for human consumption. The third unit of each Summer Institute takes place in a developing country (e.g. Kenya, Brazil, South Africa) and emphasizes ways to accommodate the economic and food security needs of people in the poorest regions of the world through better stewardship of lands, water, wildlife, and domestic animal populations. The unit addresses prevention of diseases shared between wildlife and humans, as well as between wildlife and either livestock or poultry. It demonstrates proven methods to re-establish self-sustaining wildlife populations in ways that improve the lives of nearby human groups. Leading biomedical scientists, conservation biologists, and environmental managers work side-by-side with the Envirovet group in hands-on work.
Tribal leaders share first-hand knowledge about wildlife/livestock conflicts. Throughout this unit, the need to look holistically at the challenges—and solutions—lying at the human/wildlife/domestic animal/environment interface are emphasized.
A number of participants in Envirovet courses have assumed full time careers, with several in leadership positions, in a range of relevant disciplines. An important component of the Envirovet Program is outreach to veterinarians concerned with wildlife and ecosystem health around the world. The following is based on a concerted effort to document the current activities of participants in Envirovet programs. To date, 339 individuals of 38 nations have participated in Envirovet’s intensive summer courses. In addition, three former Envirovet students have also worked in three additional nations for periods of time exceeding two years, thus 41 countries have directly benefited from the training. A total of 239 Americans and 100 individuals from other countries have participated in Envirovet summer courses. As of this writing, 42 former students of the program are still in veterinary school. Of these individuals, three previously completed health-related MS degrees, two have completed MPH degrees, and two are concurrently enrolled in MS and DVM programs. Of the 339 former participants, 86 are in domestic animal practice, with 75 of these being Americans. Some of these individuals include a focus on exotic species and others undertake outreach addressing environmental concerns for their regions or to the developing world apart from their regular work schedules. Several of those in private practice are recent graduates of DVM or equivalent programs who hope to enter into wildlife/ecosystem oriented careers after honing their clinical skills and retiring educational debt. Of former students of the program, at least 23 are engaged primarily in public health, and 46 are focused on some aspect of toxicology (includes ecotoxicology and wildlife toxicology, with smaller numbers involved in diagnostic toxicology, poison control/clinical toxicology, and regulatory toxicology). Of 38 individuals who completed an Envirovet course and are engaged largely in aquatic animal health, 28 came from the 126 participants who participated in the 1990s when the program focused solely on aquatic ecosystems and species, whereas only 10 of 213 participants have become involved almost exclusively on aquatic issues since the program began to focus more than half of its content on terrestrial animals and ecosystems in 2000. At least 43 former participants of the summer programs are largely engaged in some aspect of wildlife epidemiology. Eighteen of the individuals have become, or are in training to become, pathologists (includes one clinical pathologist), with nearly all of them focusing on wildlife, zoo, fish, and/or toxicologic pathology. Fourteen of the 340 participants are involved in some aspect of aquarium (1) or zoo (13) medicine, and more than half of these individuals are either in zoo medicine internships or residences as of this writing. Twenty-three of the remaining participants work in wildlife practice with part-time in research, mostly in national parks of the developing world. Five former participants work in laboratory animal medicine, one is involved full time in public education regarding wildlife, two are in the army (includes one of the toxicologists), one became a high school teacher,
another became a wildlife photographer, one entered business, two retired, and two are deceased. We are unaware of the job activities of 21 former participants in the program. Although a reliable estimate cannot be assigned based on available data, a number of the former students of the program contribute to the refinement and implementation of environmental and wildlife policy, both in the US and around the world.
A regional offshoot of Envirovet, termed Envirovet Baltic, recently teamed with the Baltic University Programme, a network of over 180 universities (http://www.balticuniv.uu.se/ http://www.balticuniv.uu.se/), in the development of three new books on the topics of Ecosystem Health and Sustainable Agriculture (http://www.balticuniv.uu.se/ehsa/index.php). A number of additional countries, veterinarians, and other scientists have drawn upon concepts developed through the Envirovet Summer Institutes, Overall, Envirovet Summer Institute and Envirovet Baltic have offered information, skill sets, and insight to over 430 individuals of at least 47 nations.
Aquavet® was perhaps the first program in veterinary medicine to offer an annual course to expand veterinary medical expertise in a direction beyond domestic animal and human health (http://www.aquavet.info/). Established in 1977 through a collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University, it was led principally by Dr. Donald Abt for many years. Aquavet® is currently led by Drs. Donald Stremme, Paul Bowser and Laurie Landeau, and is hosted each year at the Marine Biology Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The program has provided Aquavet® I, An Introduction to Aquatic Veterinary Medicine, to approximately 900 students to date and Aquavet® II (advanced courses, topics vary) to approximately 400 students to date, and of these roughly 300 have taken both courses. The program directors estimate that about 200 of the overall students of the program are involved in aquatic animal health on a full time basis.
Marvet was established in 1999 by Drs. Raymond J. Tarpley and Christine A. Curry. The goal of Marvet is to introduce veterinary students and veterinarians to the field of marine veterinary medicine with an emphasis on marine conservation, oceanaria, aquaria, zoological parks, rehabilitation units, wildlife organizations and universities, as well as federal and state governments. The role of veterinarians in the development of effective marine animal conservation policy at national and international levels is introduced. The program emphasizes marine animal taxonomy, ecology, anatomy, physiology, pathology, diagnostic methods and clinical medicine, with emphasis on marine mammals, sea turtles and marine birds, and some attention to fish species. The annual Marvet course
has been staged each year at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, and includes participation in a long-term study led by Dr. Randy Wells. The study investigates wild bottlenose dolphins in Sarasota Bay and, at 30 years overall, is the longest-running study of its kind. Marvet students also witness and participate in selected Mote Marine Laboratory activities including work with the Whale and Dolphin Hospital and the Sea Turtle Hospital that focus on care and rehabilitation of stranded marine mammals and turtles. Marvet also offers workshops on marine mammals and sea turtles at other locations in the Americas and the Caribbean. To date, Marvet courses have been held in Florida (10), California (2), Grenada (1), Costa Rica (1), Mexico (1), and the Caymans (1). The courses have served a total of 256 participants to date. Of these 48 were from countries other than the United States and 31 were American students attending veterinary schools in the Caribbean (Ross, St. George’s, or St. Matthew’s). Other countries represented included Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru, England, Germany, Italy, Norway, Australia, Thailand, and China. To date, all sessions have been in English. Of the 256 individuals who took the courses, twenty participated in two workshops, and two completed three workshops. At the time of their enrollment in Marvet, 51 were veterinarians, 203 were veterinary students, and two were rehabilitation biologists.
Aquamed, led by Dr. Ron Thune of Louisiana State University, is organized by the Gulf States Consortium for Aquatic Animal Pathobiology (http://www.vetmed.lsu.edu/aquamed.htm). The program, which lasts about 3.6 weeks, is offered in June of even-numbered years and is open to participation by veterinarians, veterinary students, and graduate students without the DVM or equivalent degree. The program emphasizes the culture and health care of ornamental fish, commercially important fin fish, and shellfish. An overview of reptiles, marine mammals, and aquatic laboratory animals is also included. Instructors are nationally and internationally recognized experts. Weeks 1, 2, and 4 are held at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, while week 3 takes place at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium facility in Cocodrie, Louisiana. Aquamed has been hosted annually from 1993 to 2004, as well as in 2006 and 2008, training a total of 224 participants.
Wildlife Center of Virginia
The Wildlife Center of Virginia offers an internship for a graduate veterinarian as well as training opportunities for veterinary students (http://www.wildlifecenter.org/wp/veterinary-training/). The internship offers opportunities to work in ongoing conservation medicine research projects as well as interaction with local or allied institutions that include the National Zoo, University of Virginia, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, U.S. Geological Sur-
vey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Virginia Marine Science Museum, and Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
South African Programs for Veterinary Students and Veterinarians
Programs in South Africa educate a number of veterinary students and lesser numbers of veterinarians from the United States and other nations. Among these, the best known is Wildlifevets.com, which is operated by Dr. Cobus Raath, former head veterinarian of Kruger National Park (http://www.wildlifevets.com/). Dr. Raath operates a large practice dedicated primarily to African wildlife owners and conservation. He serves wildlife producers, managers of game farms, ecotourism facilities, nature preserves, and a range of governments in Africa and the Middle East. He is also a principal in Wildlife Pharmaceuticals, and specializes in development of drugs for wildlife immobilization, transport, anesthesia, and appropriate reversal of the active agents (http://www.wildpharm.co.za/). Dr. Raath as well as Dr. David Hunter of Turner Endangered Species Fund and Turner Enterprises, Inc. are adjunct professors at the School of Veterinary Medicine of Purdue University and at the College of Veterinary Medicine of Texas A&M University. Participants in the courses offered by Wildlifevets.com benefit from participation in a range of lectures, discussions, and hands-on projects related to his veterinary practice. Another organization, Brothers Safaris, assembled by veterinarian Dr. Peter Brothers, offers educational and safari experiences for veterinary students and veterinarians. Partnering institutions include De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre and the University of Pretoria (http://www.brotherssafaris.com/wildlifeandimmobilsation.htm).