Introducing Austrian new Country Representative: Julian Keles

Friederike Pohlin has been our Country Representative for the last 2 years as has now passed on her position to Julian Keles, who has been collaborating with her since the beginning. We would like to take this opportunity thank Fidu for her engagement with the Student Chapter: she has made tremendous effort in presenting the EWDA to the students and in organising lectures on various topics, such as: “Mortality and Disease of raccons”, “Mycobacteria in wild alpine ruminants”, “Current diseases of native fish”, “Zoonotic pathogens in wild birds in the cross-border region Austria – Czech Republic”, “Do the Costa Rican urban raccoon (Procyon lotor) populations represent a risk for Public Health?”, “Where pathways cross- urban wildlife and citizen science”, “Human urbanization: coexisting with wolves” and, most recently, a lecture on the “500 Elephants” translocation project, in Africa. Twenty students also joined a field trip to the Wolf Science Center, in Ernstbrunn, north of Vienna.

We had the pleasure of meeting Fidu last summer during the EWDA Conference in Berlin and her motivation is contagious – we wish her the best of luck during the next step her of career as a PhD student, and hope to see her again soon!

Please get to know more about Julian by reading his brief presentation below:


“My name is Julian Keleş and I am in my final year as a vet student at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. Friederike Pohlin and I have organized several EWDA wildlife lecture events, as well as a student fieldtrip over the past two years. Fidu encouraged my involvement with the EWDA and now passes her position on to me as she starts her PhD on White Rhino anesthesia in South Africa this February. Thank you for this opportunity and all the best.

While studying Veterinary Medicine in Austria I am enthusiastic about traveling to foreign places and getting involved with fieldwork related to topics of Conservation and Wildlife Medicine as well as zoo and exotic pet medicine. These experiences include externships in Europe, the West Indies and Africa covering wildlife pathology, bird and reptile medicine and a project where I worked as a research assistant on the island of Grenada.

In Grenada, we captured bats from populations across the island and tested them for the presence of viruses that may be harmful for humans. This project not only helped characterize the zoonotic viruses on Grenada, but also helped inform the local community about the potential risks of interacting with wildlife. Through this project I gained biomolecular lab skills such as extracting nucleic acids, setting up RT-PCR reactions and running agarose gels. In addition to this, I developed fieldwork skills identifying roosts, trapping with mist and hand nets and performing post mortem sample collections.

This past summer I completed my clinical rotation abroad at Onderstepoort, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in South Africa. I worked with a variety of African game species and had the pleasure to be part of the veterinary team at the local Jane Goodall Institute. I extended my stay gaining great experiences working alongside the vets and game capture unit at Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife focusing on work with white rhinos, lions and wild dogs. This helped me gain hands-on skills in immobilization, monitoring, translocating and capture of wild animals. I got great insight into the logistics and management behind the capture operations, working with multiple reserve managers, ecologists and separate conservation organizations.

Through my extensive experience working with a wide breadth of wildlife in various conditions and with many veterinary techniques and ecological approaches, I am confident I can contribute valuable insight to EWDA. I am passionate about actively pursuing interesting and impactful speakers to be a part of our wildlife lecture series and spreading the word about our transdisciplinary wildlife ecology and vet student events.”


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