It’s finally out!

The first application round of the AAZV/WDA mentoring program is now open. Are you interested in being a wildlife health mentor or a mentee? This is your chance! We are recruiting people to be mentors (this can also be residents and PhD candidates) as well as people who are interested in having mentors (undergrad/ postgraduate students, PhD candidates and interns/residents). You have to be a member of AAZV or WDA to be eligible as a Mentee. Click here for application details and guidelines .


On June 8th, another Wildlife Disease Lecture Event was organized in Vienna by:

  • Sinan Julian Keleş, EWDA Student Chapter Country Representative Austria
  • AVE, Akademikergruppe Veterinärmedizin

Please find the report by Julian Keleş below:

“Two weeks ago I attended the Zoo and Wildlife Health Conference in Berlin, Germany. On the welcome evening at the Berlin Aquarium, I spotted Dr.Thompson, whom I had met about two years ago on an IVSA (International Veterinary Students Association) Exchange at Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He was at the Conference with seven of his vet-students and he told me about his plans for the next two weeks, taking ten total students to the vet schools in Brno (Czech Republic), Vienna (Austria) and Budapest (Hungary) including an International Symposium on Viral Diseases in Lower Vertebrates, getting them as much exotic pet, zoo, and conservation experience as possible.
Lucky us, we were able to also get him as a speaker for an EWDA lecture event on their last day in Vienna.

On short notice, we still organized a „seminar-room“ thanks to the Viennese University Clinic for poulty and fish medicine.
Snacks were sponsored by Dr. Thompson and drinks by AVE and we had a successful Wildlife Disease Lecture Event with about 25 national and international vet and wildlife ecology students and included several researchers from our faculty.

We started the event with a short presentation on the Wildlife Disease Association, EWDA and the student chapters.


His topic was Veterinary Roles and Research in Conservation and Wildlife Medicine and he covered a wide range of wildlife aspects during 120 minutes. He began with how tax donations, banquet and stamp fundraising efforts, and ammunition and gun sales contribute to Conservation funding in the USA and North America.
Dr.Thompson shared information on a bovine tuberculosis concern in Michigan’s free ranging white tail deer in hunting areas close to Lake Huron, part of a poster abstract he also presented at the Berlin meeting.

He gave us great insight into one of his early projects with peregrine falcons when he was still a veterinary student at The Ohio State University. These falcon population declined in numbers due to being at the top of the food chain while a pesticide called „dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane = DDT“, was being used. High concentrations of a DDT metabolite prevented normal calcium production causing thin eggshells that would easily break under the parent’s weight during incubation. Urban falcon programs involved hacking out young on the top of city skyscrapers where they would learn to prey on city pigeons.


He also introduced us to Purdue projects working with sea otters and river otters, including immobilization, capture, transport and different procedures and difficulties that had to be overcome and dealt with in order to collect data and to successfully reintroduce more than 300 individuals back into Indiana rivers.

His final interesting topic was the capture, handling and radio tracking of timber rattlesnakes expanding on his veterinary presentation from Berlin and his upcoming publication in the July edition of Journal of Wildlife Diseases.

vien5As a country representative I am very happy that we could get Dr. Steve Thompson as a speaker about Veterinary Roles and Research in Conservation and Wildlife Medicine for our latest Wildlife Disease Lecture Event in Vienna.
It is impressive to see how a small animal clinician can contribute to saving species in the wild. Thanks for your talk Dr.T!”


Dr. Steve Thompson, DVM, DABVP (certified in canine and feline practice) is a clinical associate professor at Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, USA. He is head of the Pet Wellness initiative at Purdue, where he sees primary care dog, cat and exotic pet cases daily in addition to referral cases needing exotic pet, zoo or wildlife care, small animal dentistry and dog breeder genetic improvement. He served on the American Animal Hospital Association task force that published the Canine Life Stage Guidelines in 2012 and was the chairperson and host for the Primary Care Veterinary Educators inaugural World Symposium in 2013. He has presented Feline, Canine and Exotic/Wildlife topics internationally in the Czech Republic, Austria, Japan and Canada as well as at this summer’s Zoo and Wildlife Health Conference in Berlin, Germany.  

He is involved with several conservation organizations and provided veterinary care in wildlife cooperatives with the Ohio and Indiana Departments of Natural Resources and US Fish & Wildlife related to Peregrine Falcons, Whooping Cranes, River Otters, Allegheny Wood Rats, Hellbenders and Timber Rattlesnakes.


Hi everyone ! Sorry for this very late introduction, I’m very enthusiastic to finally present myself as a new country representative. I’m Marianthi Ioannidis a Belgian vet student (originally form Brussels) currently in my second year of master’s degree in Liège and I would like to introduce myself! mari.jpg

We work together with Anna Bauw, given that our country has a language border she’s the Flemish representative and I’m the French-speaking one. We already organized our first event in April and I’m very excited to already work on our second symposium.

I particularly like conservation work but also to involve myself in different things in relation to wildlife as for example I’m also the president of a student committee (comité ceto-ornitho) organizing activities in relation with marine mammals and birds : necropsies, lectures and so… I’m in this committee for 3 years now and it was my first approach to wildlife work. At the university of Liège we’re lucky to have the mentor of the stranding marine mammals network, Pr. Thierry Jauniaux, so during the past 3 years I assisted him in a lot of marine mammals necropsies and I think my best experience but also my most shocking one was to assist the necropsy of a sperm whale. We found so much waste in his stomach and for me being confronted in real time to the bad effect of human pollution made me realized how big was the emergency to protect wildlife.

Since a few months I also work as a volunteer in a wildlife rehabilitation center and that’s really gratifying to see wildlife going back in nature thanks to our work 😉 ! The work is not really clinical  but we learn a lot about feeding, handling, species, management,… And my first zoo experience is coming this summer in France.

When the previously Belgian representatives talked to me about the Student Chapter I was really enthusiastic and interesting by involve myself in a second student organization promoting wildlife but also connections between people from different countries and areas to share the same point of interest. We went gone together to the symposium day organized by the Belgian Wildlife Disease Society and I discovered a new face of the veterinary practice but also the One Health concept !

As a country representative, I would like to spread the word about the EWDA and wildlife opportunities to students at my university (Liège) and especially that the vet work is not only a clinical work but it can also be a wonderful tool in sciences projects such as conservation plans, field works, research, … ‘Cause human impact on wildlife population doesn’t have to be only negative but also a good point ;), I think that protecting wildlife should be more like a “Human Duty”.


On May 23rd 2017 a Wildlife Disease Lecture Event was organized in Vienna by:

  • Sinan Julian Keleş, EWDA Student Chapter Country Representative Austria
  • AVE, Akademikergruppe Veterinärmedizin


  • Leonida Fusani, Prof., PhD, MPhil, MSc Professor of Animal Physiology and Ornithology, University of Vienna Director, Konrad Lorenz Institute of Ethology, Vetmeduni Vienna
  • Pia Cigler, Small Animal Clinic, Service for birds and reptiles, Vetmeduni Vienna
  • Gerhard Loupal, Prof., Dr., Dipl.ECVP Institute of Pathology and Forensic Veterinary Medicine, Vetmeduni Vienna

Please find the report below:

“As a country representative I am interested in getting students interested and involved in our student chapters’ activities and spreading the word about the EWDA. Therefore we organized a lecture event and two field trips with a focus on ornithology, giving vet and wildlife ecology students as well as members of our faculty the opportunity to network interdisciplinary and get deeper insights into the world of wild birds, aspects of their physiology, diseases and pathology.

We started the event with a short presentation on the Wildlife Disease Association, EWDA and of course the student chapters.

Followed by Prof.Fusani’s „Food intake and energy stores regulate bird migration: An overview“ lecture. The presentation focused on physiological aspects of bird migration such as how condition (body mass, fat and body score) predicts Zugunruhe and how stopover rates depend on fat reserves.

Next lecturer was Pia Cigler, who works as a clinician mainly with birds and reptiles. She explained causes and treatment of different wild bird species that had been presented within the past two years. Her case presentations ranged from pigeons, barn owl and the common kestrel to the white tailed eagle and the bearded vulture. She also discussed common radiological techniques and bandaging methods with us.

Last but not least Gerhard Loupal, veterinary pathologist and BirdLifeAustria’s honour president, introduced us into selected diseases and pathology of wild birds. Salmonellosis, Usutu-Virus-Infection, Avian Influenza and others were part of his lecture.
lob4From left to right: Julian Keles, Pia Cigler, Leonida Fusani, Gerhard Loupal and Caro Pannrucker (AVE)

Prof. Loupal is also our ornithology field trip guide. He was so kind to lead our group of 15 people into the national park „Donauauen“, Lobau area, close to Vienna on a half day tour.


We were spotting birds not only by binocular but by their different calls and relating distribution to season and environmental habitat.


As we had so many applicants, Prof. Loupal confirmed a second fieldtrip which is already booked out and will take place on the early morning of the 11th of June.


We ended the fieldtrip with lunch at a traditional Austrian restaurant close by.

This ornithology lecture event was very successful. We had about 30 visitors and enjoyed drinks and snacks sponsored by AVE. Thanks to our wonderful lecturers!

Picture Credits go to Sarah Hochgeschurz and Corina Sonnberger.

We are looking forward to seeing you at our next Wildlife Disease Lecture Event „Veterinary Roles and Research in Conservation and Wildlife Medicine“ which will take place on the 8th of June, 4-6pm, Hörsaal C, at the Vetmed Campus in Vienna.”

Julian Keleş




Hello Fellow Wildlife Enthusiasts,

My name is Chloe Pierce and I am a veterinary student at the Royal Veterinary College in London. Growing up in Canada, I have always been fascinated with wildlife and hope to one day become a wildlife veterinarian. I also hold a BSc in Zoology from Aberystwyth University and a MSc in the Control of Infectious Diseases in Animals from the RVC.

During my MSc research project, I was lucky enough to work at the Animal and Plant Health Agency in the lab responsible for passive rabies surveillance in bats. My project was looking for the presence of coronaviruses in the bat samples that were submitted to the program driven by the emergence of the novel Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012. It was a fascinating opportunity to learn about the importance of effective wildlife disease surveillance for zoonotic and economic implications.

I would like to continue the hard work Stuart and Harriet have already done by promoting the EWDA Student Chapter to include all students interested in wildlife and conservation, such as biological/environmental/zoological students. I believe coming from both a biological and veterinary background I could help the two communities come together. I have enjoyed the various wildlife and zoological conferences and symposiums I have attended and am excited to take part in planning one for the EWDA. I hope to see you there!


Hi everyone,

My name is Anna and I am happy to be one of the three new country representatives for the UK. I am glad to work with Chloe and Isaac, as I don’t know if I would be able to put in enough time on my own. I am originally from Germany and did my undergrad in veterinary medicine at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, taking what wildlife and exotics electives I could get into. After graduating in 2010 I did a doctorate focussing on stress and zoonotic disease in human-animal interactions with small ruminants, while working in a practice for horses and companion animals. But the idea of practicing medicine in a more population oriented way and of working with wildlife was still in the back of my mind. So when I discovered the option to do a Distance learning Master in conservation medicine at the University of Edinburgh, I immediately signed up. I also quit my job to travel and volunteer with wildlife and in zoos where I got the chance (for example Tanzania, Canada and New Zealand). While writing up my master thesis on population models in conservation medicine I briefly took a job as product manager for equine health products, which financed things like a course in wildlife immobilisation and going to conferences. Then I got lucky and got a scholarship for an amazing PhD project at the University of Edinburgh and moved to the UK in September 2016. I am now studying leprosy in red squirrels and also working on expanding my public engagement skills, as the subject needs such careful communication to avoid any reactions that could interfere with red squirrel conservation.  I am also volunteering with Edinburgh Zoo (every other Sunday) and once a month with the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

Never ask me about my research project, if you are not prepared to listen for at least 15 minutes – that is how excited I get about it. I love practical veterinary work (especially with wildlife, where it is often easier to just focus on the patient’s needs, not having to cater to owner wishes at the same time), but also the chance to hide in the lab or burry myself in books, and to get new perspectives on a problem. That’s where the transdisciplinary approach of conservation medicine appeals to me and I hope to share my enthusiasm about thinking outside the box with other students through EWDA. Beyond that I hope to be able to use my time as representative to help other students on their journey to starting a career in wildlife medicine, and help continue to create events where we can all get together and learn from each other as well as from established experts in the field of wildlife health. I am looking forward to the time ahead and hope to interact with many of you!


I am delighted to be one of the UK’s three representatives of the student branch of the European Wildlife Disease Association.

I am a veterinary student at the Royal Veterinary College in London but hail from the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales.

My greatest area of interest is the epidemiology and control of zoonotic and sylvatic diseases that affect wildlife, livestock and humans. I believe that without remembering we are all animals that share this planet with many other species, we ourselves will never be healthy. I work with the UK student group ‘Students for Global Health’ on this topic, being one of very few vets that are involved in this area of global health.

Predictably I have wanted to be a wildlife vet working in conservation since a very early age. I aim to highlight to people the importance of working for animal health in order to achieve global human health; because only then can we guarantee the safety and health of the wildlife that we seek to protect.

As a UK student representative, I will seek to create greater engagement with wildlife disease across more disciplines and to triumph the importance of taking a One Health approach to achieving both wildlife health, conservation of endangered species and global public health. I also hope to further involve the UK’s student wildlife disease enthusiasts with national and international projects, enhancing the cross-channel community that is threatened by the current political climate.

I am looking forward to meeting you all.


An educational video by wildlife pathologist, Vic Simpson, of the Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Centre, Truro, showing the protocol for performing a necropsy on a wild bird. Credits to Zoe Greatorex.