my name is Salvatore Andrea Cafiero and I am attending the fifth year of Veterinary Medicine in the University of the Studies of Milan. I am also a member of IVSA Milan, with whom I made student exchanges and I took part at symposia in my university, for example “Antibiotic Resistance” and “European Board of Veterinary Specialization Colleges”.
Since I was a child, I have known that wildlife and habitat conservation would be my job; unfortunately, my university course does not teach a lot about this but an introducing course of three months that I will start this spring.
Therefore, I decided to travel around the world in order to open my eyes. I went twice in South Africa: once I went as a volunteer in Kwantu Private Game Reserve, once I was part of Symco 2017 with Pretoria University (such the best experience in my life) and 80 world vet students. This was an itinerant symposium on South African wildlife, in different parks and centers through the country, getting involved into vets and rangers’ activities. This autumn I attended a symposium organized in Belgium by EWDA on “Wildlife Conservation”: I discovered this association, its activities and goals, a world rich of opportunities. I got in love with EWDA and their members inspired me.
After that, I realized that Italy absolutely needed to be part of EWDA! I found a group of vet students interested to start an Italian Student Chapter in Milan and we collected ideas to make it work. Our first project is a meeting among Italian students, teachers and wildlife vet associations in order to let them know about EWDA and to increase cooperation between university and post-graduation world. Then, with help of faculty and of IVSA Milan, we want to organize more lectures and conferences, more internships and residencies in National Parks, Rehabilitation Centers and Zoo Parks. We also have other two tricky goals: the first one, to get zoos and national parks closer and less diffident in their job cooperation; the second one, to reduce the gap between vets and other scientists like biologists, ecologists and zoologists through sharing knowledge and experience. Less competition, more cooperation. More cooperation, more success.
I am still unsure if working with either National Parks or Rehabilitation Centers or Zoos, either in Italy or abroad, because I know that these worlds in Italy tend to work not often together. I hope this will change in near future. I think EWDA will help me to understand my way and to make me feel confident in myself.
I hope future vet students will find easier to study and practice wildlife experience during university course, but also that future vets will be more influent on public opinion and politics. Is it too much? I don’t think so…