Country representative news, Introduction of country representatives, News

Introducing Andreia, the Portuguese country rep!

Andreia Garcês

My name is Andreia Garcês and I graduated in 2016 in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal. I have always been fascinated with wildlife and want

terinary medicine and other areas so that the communication between professionals of different areas will help to conserve the populations of wild animals in the future.

ed to become a wildlife veterinarian. Fortunately, my university is home to a Wildlife Recovery Centre, CRAS-UTAD. During the past years I have tried to follow as many lectures and courses about exotics and wildlife as I could. Furthermore, I have volunteered in Rehabilitation centres, hospitals and zoos.

Together with some colleagues, I formed a student group, and we managed to organise some lectures and workshops about exotics and wildlife animals. Today we have a Facebook page, Silvestris-blog, where we share information about congresses, workshops, and some of the latest scientific information. We cover not only veterinary medicine but also other areas such as ecology or biology.

During my internship, I worked at Wildlife Recovery Centres in Portugal and Spain, where I acquired

knowledge within the veterinary field as well as ecology and biology. Another of my favourite subjects is pathology. So, for my master thesis, I studied the main causes of death and lesions in animals admitted to the Wildlife Recovery Centre of Gaia´s Park Biologic, Portugal. Following this work, it was possible to publish a book about necropsy techniques in wild animals with some of my illustrations (Manual de Necrópsias em animals Selvagens). On top of this, I did an internship in microbiology where I studied antibiotic resistance in bats. Currently I am doing a PhD where I´m trying to continue the line of work from my master, including related anthropogenic pressures, pollutants etc. within the mortality and disease in wild populations.

As a country representative, I hope that I am able op spread the word about the EWDA and wildlife opportunities, nationally and internationally, not only to vet students but also to those that already work within these areas. In that way I wish to improve the knowledge about ve

Looking forward to working with all of you!

Andreia Garcês,
University Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro


Introducing Miriam, the new Danish country rep!

Miriam Dibbern
Miriam Dibbern, Danish country rep

Hi everybody!

My name is Miriam Dibbern, and I am about to finish my fourth year of vet school in Copenhagen, Denmark. Originally I come from northern Germany, but Denmark has become my second home during the past few years. Nature and animals have always been a big part of my life, and it was an easy decision to start at vet school. Unfortunately at the Danish vet school there’s barely any focus on wildlife research, although Denmark has some decent marine and terrestrial flora and fauna.

In search for a broader field in veterinary medicine and an inspiring international vet student community, I started to look beyond the Danish boarders where I found the International Veterinary Student’s Association (IVSA). I also stumbled over a perfect possibility to meet up with wildlife-interested students from all over the world: SYMCO in South Africa. The 18-day long symposium that is also called ISWU (International Symposium on Wildlife Utilization), undoubtedly stands out as one of the most amazing experiences in my life both socially and professionally.

Inspired by this community of wildlife-enthusiasts, I and a handful of European SYMCO-delegates joined the EWDA Symposium in Liège back in November. Besides being introduced to the EWDA Student Chapters, I was taught how diverse the term “Wildlife” is and I learnt about all the different possibilities in wildlife research and conservation. Subsequently, it came quite natural to continue as the new country representative for EWDA Denmark.

My plans for the future are to create a community of wildlife-interested Danish vet students, and thereafter to get the Danish chapter more involved in the international EWDA family as well.
I strongly believe in sharing knowledge and experiences for the sake of the community, and I hope that the Danish students’ chapter will serve as a platform for that purpose. We are stronger together!

On a personal level, I am currently searching for a Master’s project on the local wildlife in Denmark, hopefully about wolves. This summer I am attending the NOVA MSc Course: Nordic Zoo, Wildlife and Conservation Medicine in Norway, which I am really looking forward to! Maybe I’ll meet some of you there?

Cheers everybody, I look forward to meeting you!


Introducing the new Italian Country Representative: Salvatore Andrea Cafiero


Hello everyone,

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…


Introduction of new Italian Country Representative: Francesca Vitali

Vitali F.jpg


My name is Francesca Vitali. I am an Italian veterinarian and I am currently doing a PhD in wildlife physiology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at University of Milan.

My research interests focus on the study of physio-pathological consequences of capture in African wildlife and zoo species and on the research for safer protocols and techniques.

I have a deep interest for all branches of zoological medicine but I am particularly keen on anaesthesia, thus my wish is to do research and apply the most advanced practice and newest studies reported in domestic animals also to wildlife species!

I was raised in the metropolitan city of Milan but I have always been enthusiastic about traveling in the most remote places on the Earth. In particular, my greatest passion was spotting and observing wildlife, ever since I was a student I wished to combine my veterinary studies with the issue of conservation.

In 2013 I did my first wildlife medicine externship in Kenya and since then a wonderful adventure began! In the following years I started a collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service Veterinary Department, which brought me to my first research projects regarding a new immobilisation protocol in lions and physiological studies in other species. Another experience that was really significant to me was a period that I spent at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido (CA) where inspired by the excellence of zoological medicine, I started considering practicing this field as a career opportunity.

Thanks to these experiences that really motivated me, in October 2017 I won a scholarship for carrying on a doctoral research and currently I am trying to build a network between different Institutions and wildlife researchers/veterinarians in order to collaborate and maximise the research results and thus the contribution to the effort of conservation.

Simultaneously, since I feel very lucky for having discovered the world of wildlife medicine and conservation soon, my wish is to spread this passion and interest to many other students!

I really appreciate the action of EWDA in helping people with a common interest in wildlife medicine to find each other and I would be honoured to give my contribution building up an Italian team of motivated student to share ideas and opportunities. My hope is to help who wants to take this career or simply learn more about wildlife, by organising events and seminars, advising on wildlife experiences and research opportunities and helping to learn about the options for taking a career in this amazing field!

Looking forward to creating a tight team together!




Application EWDA Student Chapter Board – Secretary

Rebecca D. Berg, DVM

Phd-Student, Dep. of Plant and Environmental Sciences, UCPH


Hi, my name is Rebecca Dorph Berg. I am a veterinarian and graduated from University of Copenhagen (UCPH) in July 2015. Currently I am working on my Phd on health and diseases in Greenland muskox populations, which is a collaboration between UCPH and the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources. I focus on infectious diseases (parasitology in particular), disease transmission in the livestock-wildlife interface and food safety. Furthermore, there will be some aspects of the effect of climate change and possible emerging diseases.

I became a member of the WDA and EWDA in 2015 during a NOVA summer course on Nordic Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. 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. However, it will undoubtedly take a lot of hard work. Shortly after this, I started working on possible PhD-proposals in my free time.

My first direct contact to the EWDA was at the conference in august 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 the same year, I attended the Muskox Health Symposium in Calgary, Canada. Here, it once again stood clear to me how important interdisciplinary work, availability, contact and networking is for the field of Conservation Medicine/One Health/Planetary Health or whatever we want to call this interest and passion for turning the world into a greener and more diverse place.

I would love to be a greater part of the EWDA, and hereby help increasing the interest of, and focus on the extremely important and fascinating work wildlife professionals and students do within wildlife research. As a member of the EWDA-SC board, I will work towards increasing the outreach of the organisation towards students in Europe. As a board, we should make the website more user-friendly and in the end create opportunities for online learning session, webinars, lectures etc.

The upcoming student workshop on One Health should have wildlife as its central focus, and from there look at the One Health perspective. Many other organisations work with One Health, but have wildlife as a side notion, and often with a negative view of wildlife being nothing more than a reservoir for human disease. The WDA/EWDA’s focus on the value of wildlife, and how wildlife health interact with livestock, humans, and environment is what makes the organisation unique, and I believe that we should treasure that!

All the best,





Application EWDA Student Chapter Board – Communications Officer

 Eirini Kamenaki, Veterinarian


Dear members of the EWDA Student Chapter,

I am very happy to introduce myself as a new member of the board. I am Eirini Kamenaki, a recent graduate veterinarian. I come from Greece and I work for an animal shelter in the Netherlands. During my studies, I developed an intense interest in wildlife medicine and conservation. To gain more knowledge within this fascinating field, I have got proactively involved in various relevant activities and organisations. Namely I was one of the coordinators of the “Veterinary Students Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Team” of my faculty. I have also volunteered for a number of nongovernmental associations aiming to protect endangered species such as the sea turtle. Furthermore I have completed an externship in a veterinary hospital for exotic pets in Ireland. After my graduation I have worked for an animal sanctuary in rural Thailand and in a few veterinary clinics in Greece and the Netherlands. As a student I had learned about EDWA Student Chapter but I never got the chance to get involved. So I am now very excited to become part of the team and participate in the organisation of the next workshop. I hope my multicultural background will help making this workshop an educative, enriching and unforgettable experience for all participants. I believe it will be a great chance for everyone to nurture our passion for wildlife and expand our professional horizons.