Belgium’s new team of country representatives:
Amaury Van Goethem, amauryvangoethem<at>gmail.com
Samuel Kalpers, skalpers<at>gmail.com
Hello, our names are Samuel Kalpers and Amaury Van Goethem. We are 5th year veterinary student at the University of Liège (Belgium).
We are both very interested in conservation medicine and the field of wildlife diseases. In this context, we recently enrolled at the university wildlife department to participate in autopsies and hunting inspections. We have already attended several autopsies during the past months.
Samuel: “ I am also doing my final project for my degree on Tuberculosis in wildlife in sub-Saharan Africa focussing on the zoonotic aspects of the disease. I have gained some wildlife experience in Africa before, as I lived in Kenya, Rwanda, Burkina Faso and Gabon for ten years. I had the opportunity to visit a number of national parks and reserves when I lived there. Finally, I did an internship with Dr. Mattew Mutinda at the Lewa Conservancy (Kenya) for a couple of weeks in 2011”.
Amaury: “ My interest in wildlife infectious diseases is recent; my experience is therefore limited to volunteer work in wildlife rehabilitation centers in Belgium, and autopsies made within the university. I am also a member of diverse student associations focused on exotics animals and wildlife medicine, where I attended many conferences and gained practical work experience. Last, I am passionated about herpetology and I received basic knowledge about reptiles. At the end of my bachelor degree, I conducted my final research project on cryptosporidiosis in reptiles. Currently, I am undertaking my final project about the growth of herbivorous tortoises”.
Both of us want to specialize in wildlife after finishing our degrees:
Samuel: “My goals after vet school are mostly related to wildlife, and are particularily regarding wildlife of the southern hemisphere. I intend to do an internship in Africa during my final (6.) year, by assisting people that work for the conservation of wildlife and ecosystems. After my graduation, I would like to specialize in tropical and/or wild animals diseases in South Africa. ”.
Amaury: “Preserving our wildlife and environment has always been an important part of my career goals. Moreover, in a period where the majority of emerging diseases originates from animals, I consider veterinary professionals in these area as very important! So, at the end of my studies, I plan an Advanced Master of emerging diseases / public health / wildlife diseases with the probable thesis topic: the problem of chytrid in amphibians”.
As EWDA student representatives for Belgium, we want to introduce the EWDA to other students and share knowledge on wildlife conservation, wildlife diseases and their impact on domestic animals and public health. We plan to organize several conferences, especially in collaboration with others student associations of our university. We also want to contact others Belgian veterinary schools to create an effective and dynamic information network.
PS: We are also looking for Flemish veterinary students from Ghent university to complete us in the representation of the EWDA in Belgium!