Country representative news, Introduction of country representatives, News

Introducing Sweden’s second Country Representative: Johanna Johnsson!


My name is Johanna and I am excited to announce myself as Sweden’s second country representative! After two years of “time off” I am about to start my fourth year of veterinary medicine in Uppsala (because apparently one needs to finish at some point!)

I wish I could be one of those people saying that becoming a veterinarian always was a childhood dream now finally coming true. Honestly, I don’t even know or remember when the veterinarian-bug hit me! But by know it feels like there never really was any other choice. I mean, what could possibly be a better job than to save animals? Oh that’s right, working to preserve wildlife!

My interest in wildlife and conservation was also something that sort of sneaked up on me. There was no big, life changing experience that brought me here. Rather many small but crucial encounters with wildlife and nature suffering from different anthropological activities. To have this real life experience of the human impact on the planet and to see what it does to its nature and the animals living in it was something that changed my perspective of the world. While traveling I have worked and volunteered with marine conservation in Mexico and elephant rehabilitation and reintroduction in Thailand and India. Animal welfare is another affair of my heart and I’ve been volunteering with animal welfare organizations in Tanzania and India as well as being an active member of Veterinarians Without Borders – Sweden.

The love I developed for our huge friend the elephant brought me to last year’s EAZWV Summer School in Elephant Medicine in Zürich were I for the first time was introduced to the EWDA family. I absolutely fell in love with this community of engaged, inspiring, “daring-to-dream-big” group of students that I am now super excited to be a part of myself! At the moment, Tina and I are working to engage the local veterinary students as well as planning events at our university in Uppsala.

Looking forward to meet you all in the future!

Country representative news, Introduction of country representatives, News

Introducing Poland’s new Country Representative: Magdalena Walczak

Magdalena Anna Walczak

My name is Magdalena Anna Walczak, friends call me Mag.

I am a 5th year Veterinary Medicine student at the University of Environmental and Life Sciences in Wrocław, Poland. As a child, I spent most of my time watching Animal Planet documentaries, before I was able to actually share adventures with live animals.

During my third year of studies, I participated in Erasmus exchange at the University of Cordoba in Spain. Together with my colleagues, we worked on a poster on ‘Detection of septic osteitis in phalanges of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus)’, which has deepened my interest in wildlife. The following year, I had an opportunity to volunteer in the area of Sundarbans National Park in India. Later, cooperating with the Wildlife Trust of India, I was placed in the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation in Kaziranga National Park. Situated in the river’s flood plain, Kazianga experiences annual flooding during monsoon which regularly cause large scale temporary displacement, including orphaned rhinos and elephants. Our activities largely aimed to stabilise displaced animals and release them back into the wild, as close to the site of rescue as possible, following necessary treatment.

A case that particularly stayed in my memory was hepatitis B virus infections in two gibbons, while the possibility of horizontal transmission between gibbons and humans was not certain. Further interest directed me to the Summer School “Zoonoses” in Dubrovnik organised by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb.

Last year, I did my clinical internship in Białowieża National Park in Poland, which protects last remaining fragment of Europe’s primeval forest. At present, after successful reinstatement, Białowieża Forest is a habitat of the world’s largest herd of European bison, the biggest European land mammal. I was lucky to share my experience at the Seminar organised by the Animal Rights Scientific Society at Faculty of Law, Administration and Economics of the University of Wrocław, and we are excited to plan the next Conference.

I am currently involved in behavioural research on Asian elephants, and an active member of IVSA Wrocław, Veterinary Medicine and Exotic Animals Medicine Scientific Clubs at my Faculty. I am also interested in animal welfare. I had a pleasure to speak about Ethics of Wildlife Management and Conservation during the 2nd Ethical Dilemmas in Veterinary Education Conference, held by IVSA Warsaw.

In our current curriculum, very little attention is yet given to Wildlife Medicine. Together with EWDA Student Chapter, I wish to promote this fascinating field and integrate students around lectures, workshops and Conferences. I plan regular meetings and activities at our Faculty, as well as national events. As a Student Representative of Poland, I hope to enable our students an understanding of a broad range of conservation issues through externships and international cooperation.


Yours faithfully,

Magdalena Anna Walczak

Country representative news, Introduction of country representatives, News

Introducing Irelands new Country Representative: Grace Thornton

12015054_10156037653670627_8675126708224687510_oMy name is Grace and I am a first year Veterinary student at the University of College Dublin in Ireland. Growing up in Canada, I was fortunate to have many animals and exposure to nature in my life, so my passion for science and wildlife came naturally. I spend as much time outdoors as I can, camping, hiking, and canoeing.
I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation at the University of Guelph in Canada before pursuing my Veterinary career in Ireland. Exploring different facets of the wildlife field confirmed that becoming a Veterinarian is the best way for me to apply my love of practical medicine and ecology with conservation. I love birds, particularly birds of prey. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I worked as a zookeeper at a local safari park in the Birds of Prey department, and also volunteered with an educational-outreach program that works with non-releasable raptors. These opportunities taught me about bird health and husbandry, and allowed me to educate visitors about my favourite group of birds, vultures! These scavenging birds play an integral role in the removal of dead animals and diseases from the environment, and are experiencing drastic population decline worldwide.
I like projects that have big-picture effects, so I became involved in wildlife disease research at the University of Guelph. These include researching tick-borne diseases by surveying ticks, birds, and wild cervids, and investigating Baylisascaris procyonis in raccoons by surveying latrines and measuring the parasite load in fecal samples. I’m excited for my newest project with the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, where I will be investigating rodenticide exposure in raptors. OneHealth is a concept I am passionate about, and believe it is important for students to be conscious of emerging zoonoses and conservation risks in this time of rapid environmental change. I had the opportunity to present a research poster at the 2018 WDA Conference in Florida, where I met many supportive and awesome scientists involved in every aspect of wildlife disease and conservation imaginable!
As an EWDA representative for Ireland I would help other students explore the wildlife disease field and meet other ambitious and adventurous scientists, so we can encourage and inspire each other as we develop different career paths and goals. Collaborating with biological, zoological, and OneHealth societies at different institutions in Ireland for workshops, lectures will involve and remind students that no discipline exists in a vacuum; we are all continuously learning. I would give other student researchers a platform to speak and develop their public presentation skills, as well as encourage student involvement in WDA workshops and conferences, as I plan on attending myself in the future. I look forward to exploring new opportunities and meeting new scientists from many disciplines!
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

Country representative news, Introduction of country representatives, News

Introduction of new country rep: France

Please welcome our new French EWDA student country rep:

Cindy Braud: c.braud_11<at>

Cindy Braud France EWDA application

Hi, I am Cindy and I am a final year veterinary student from the National Veterinary School of Toulouse (ENVT) in France. I have always had a passion for wildlife and especially for wildlife conservation. During the previous years, I conducted several externships ; firstly in Johannesburg Zoo where I had the opportunity to be involved in all clinical diagnostics and treatments. Then, I realised another one in the Avian and Exotic Animal Center in Miami, Florida where I improved my knowledges on exotic animals and especially on birds. After a 4-months clinical rotation in a large animal hospital in Brazil, I had the chance to gain some knowledges about jaguar conservation by following on the field, veterinarians and biologists from ICMBio. Now, while continuing my research thesis about Schmallenberg virus in zoo ruminants, I am a also taking part in a research on the transmission of a Borrelia-like virus from wildlife to humans and domestic animals in Brazil.

For 2 years, I have been the president of the student wildlife assocation, Yaboumba Junior Toulouse where I tried with my partners to share information with other students about exotic and wildlife medicine and conservation management. Exchanging knowledges and raising counciousness of students and large public has always been my major concern and I hope to be able to carry on as a larger scale now.

Since 2015, I am also a member of EAZWV and I took part to the last EAZWV student workshop where I had the pleasure to attend fantastic conferences, gain more knowledges, and share skills and advices with fantastic people. I was introduced to EWDA during this workshop and to the possibility to be a country student representative. With this position, I would like to develop an interdisciplinary network between professionals from different fields in France but also in all over Europe. The first event will take place in January 2016 where an interdisciplinary student symposium will be held in Toulouse about biodiversity. Based on the « One Health » concept, this project reflects my will to show to students and people the importance of wildlife conservation and environmental protection for wild animals but also for humans and domestic animals health.

Kind regards,

Cindy Braud

Introduction of country representatives

Introduction of new country representatives (14): The Netherlands

Please welcome our new EWDA student country rep in the Netherlands:

Valérie Baede​: v.o.baede<at>


Hi everyone,

I am honoured to introduce myself as the Dutch EWDA student rep! I am a student of veterinary medicine at Utrecht University, currently finishing the first year of my MSc in Farm animal health and veterinary public health. Previously, I studied biology for a year and got interested in population dynamics and ecosystem health. So when I got into vet school, I was especially interested in the interaction between animals and their environment. This evolved to a fascination for the role of wildlife as reservoir of infectious diseases. Later, I would like to work in disease ecology and conduct research on the livestock-wildlife interface.

A few years ago, I joined Archaeopteryx, the Dutch student association for birds and exotic animals, and got the opportunity to organise lectures with their Wildlife and Aquafauna working groups. Later, I joined the board and learned even more about wildlife and organising wildlife events. Through Archaeopteryx I worked with various wildlife organisations in the Netherlands and hope to continue working with these organisations in my position as a EWDA country rep.

Last March, I came into contact with the WDA and EWDA on the IOHC2015 and was able to join the 6th Student workshop. This excellent workshop inspired me to become a EWDA country rep.

As a EWDA student rep, I hope to introduce Dutch vet students to wildlife medicine and wildlife research and bring them into contact with wildlife professionals, to experience the importance of wildlife medicine in ecosystem health and One Health. As a first step, I would like to organise a lecture event for students with some professional Dutch EWDA members.

If you are a Dutch vet student and interested in EWDA or wildlife opportunities in the Netherlands, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Valérie Baede

Utrecht University


Introduction of country representatives

Introduction of new country representatives (13): Norway

The EWDA Student Board welcomes our new country representative in Norway:

Javier Sanchez Romano



Hello to everybody!

My name is Javier and I studied Veterinary Medicine at the University of Extremadura (Spain). Due to my interest in wildlife, infectious diseases and epidemiology, I collaborated as intern student with the department of infectious diseases and epidemiology and the department of histology and anatomical pathology in my university during 4 years. I also did a short internship in Santillana Zoo Foundation (Spain).

An important part of my interest in wildlife comes from AVAFES, the students association for wildlife and exotic animals, which exists in every veterinary faculty in Spain. I was member and part of the board of this association in Cáceres. I am also member of the EAZWV. Microbiology, infectious diseases, parasitology and pathology are the most interesting topics for me.

Once my studies were finished in 2012, I travelled to Tromsø to join the section of Arctic Veterinary Medicine at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science for a 10 months internship, where I have been working with different species such as different seal species, arctic and red foxes or reindeer and their diseases. In autumn 2013 I started a Master’s Programme in “Northern Populations and Ecosystems” at the Arctic University of Norway (UiT) and I will present my Master’s thesis during the next semester.

Besides that, I started some months ago a four years PhD in Arctic Infection Biology in the same university. Reindeer, the infectious keratoconjunctivitis and the role of the Cervid Herpesvirus 2 in its development will be the main topics of my project.

I got in contact with the EWDA during the last conference in Edinburgh, where I presented some preliminary results of my master. I have been thinking of becoming the country representative of Norway since then and finally, I decided to take the plunge. Since I am placed in the north of the country and the veterinary school is located 1800 km away, I will try to make students from other disciplines, such as biology or human medicine, involved in the world of wildlife diseases. Disease ecology or the One Health concept are interesting interdisciplinary approaches to the wildlife diseases and we will need other professionals, besides veterinarians, to have a better and broad understanding of them.

It would be also interesting to create a network between students interested in wildlife diseases all over the country. To be able to accomplish that, it would be really good to have someone else from the veterinary school in Oslo and work together as country representatives in the EWDA student chapter! If you are reading this and you are interested, don’t wait and send an email!