My name is Rebecca Berg. I have a degree in veterinary medicine from University of Copenhagen in 2015. I have dreamed of working with wildlife for as long as I can remember, but unfortunately I never really, truly believed, that it could come true as a veterinarian working on wildlife issues.
My first attempt of getting wildlife into my studies was during my bachelor thesis, where I wrote about Arctic rabies in Greenland, mainly in arctic fox. Though, it was not until I did a NOVA course on Nordic Zoo and Wildlife Medicine at the end of my studies that I started believing in a future in wildlife medicine. At the course I met wildlife professionals who had pursued their dream – and succeeded! During this course I joined the WDA and learned about the EWDA. With the support of new friends who shared my passion for wildlife, and inspiration from the teachers on the wildlife course, I realised, that working with wildlife is not a dead-end or an impossible goal! It will, though undoubtedly take a lot of hard work. Shortly after this, I started working on possible PhD-proposals in my spare time. I have a close connection to Greenland, and have worked as an assistant on various field trips, both marine and terrestrial, during my summer holidays. Therefore, it was no surprise that my project plans reached towards the North. After a lot of sleepless nights working on my application I succeeded in obtaining a 3-year PhD-grant, starting in February 2017. My PhD is on health and diseases in muskox populations in Greenland. Infectious diseases (parasitology in particular), disease transmission in the livestock-wildlife interface and food safety will be the main topics in my project. Furthermore there will be some aspects of the effect of climate change and possible emerging diseases.
My first direct contact to the EWDA was at the conference in august this year (2016). It was a fantastic experience and it further supported me in my belief, that this is the direction I want to go. It was extremely inspiring learning about areas of wildlife research I never had thought existed or was even possible.
In November this year I attended the Muskox Health Symposium in Calgary, Canada, where it once again stood clear to me how important interdisciplinary work, availability, contact and networking is for the field of One Health/Planetary Health/Conservation Medicine or whatever we want to call this interest and passion for turning the world into a greener and more diverse place.
It was a great honour being offered the role as country rep. for the EWDA student chapter in Denmark, and I am really looking forward to spread the word of the EWDA, increasing the contact between students from different areas as well as bringing teachers, scientist and students with interest in wildlife conservation together. Hopefully this can help other students learn about their options regarding future work with wildlife, internships, externships, residencies etc., at a much earlier state in their studies than I did.
I am really excited about this new chapter in my life, and I am looking forward to gaining a lot of new knowledge, new experiences and new friendships.