We are delighted to introduce our first Country Representative from Belgium, dutch speaking part, Anna Baauw!  Her motivation to represent our Student Chapter grew when she attended the SC Symposium in the RVC, organised by the 3 representatives from the UK: Stuart, Harriet and Sima. Anna is another example of how attending lectures and meeting people outside the usual Faculty environment may enrich your knowledge and motivate you to accept new challenges.

Take a look at Anna’s brief presentation to get to know a bit more about her:


“Hi all,
My name is Anna Baauw. I’m one of those who always wanted to become a vet as a child. I’m also one of those, who somehow ended up studying something different.

In 2014, I graduated in Forest and Nature Conservation at Wageningen University. During my master, I realized two, or maybe three things. First of all, the importance of collaboration between different disciplines, such as ecology, veterinary and medical science. Luckily, the concept of ‘OneHealth’ was gaining popularity at that time, and therefore I could easily explore pieces of those interactions. During my internship, I worked on the survival of (human) pathogens in different types of soil. For my master thesis, I did research on the interactions between ticks, animal hosts and different environmental habitat types in a nature area in South Africa.

The second thing I realized was a bit more complicated to deal with: I decided that, after all, I still wanted to become a vet. The result of this, is that I’m now a third year veterinary student at Ghent University. Although it is a long way to go, I love being in in vet school. At the same time, the ecologist in me was missing the wildlife, the linkages with nature, biodiversity, society. I started to visit conferences on biodiversity conservation and wildlife health to make that connection. In October I attended the EWDA student chapter symposium in London. Not only the talks were great; I also totally felt at home. It really felt like we all belonged to one big family. The passion and the enthusiasm I experienced there, encouraged me to start a wildlife student group back home.

As it turned out, I was not the only one, and right at that time some other great students announced that they had just started a veterinary student association on development and wildlife (www.vsdw.be), so we joined forces. We’re a very young association at this point, but my dream is for it to turn into a platform within the larger EWDA network, where we support each other, connect students, teachers and practitioners with similar passions, and also create educational opportunities (lectures, excursions, courses etc.) for students to prepare themselves for a career in wildlife conservation or other nature-society-veterinary-interdisciplinary work (OneHealth would be a shorter word to say the same…).
I’m very much looking forward to my new ‘job’. I hope that I can contribute to the EWDA by building on a larger, stronger European student network, and locally by creating a similar passionate, supportive atmosphere for other students that dream of a career in wildlife, as the one I experienced at the EWDA student chapter.

Oh, and the third thing that happened during my master studies: I met a pangolin and fell in love with him (or her).”

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.”


Hi everyone,

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.

Registration for the EWDA UK Student Chapter One-Day Symposium is now open.

Students from non-UK countries are very welcome to participate too. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/working-with-wildlife-ewda-uk-student-chapter-one-day-symposium-tickets-27527369102


The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin did an amazing job on organising the 12th Conference of the European Wildlife Disease Association (EWDA). From the August 27-31, wildlife health professionals and students from Europe and beyond gathered at the BfR – the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. Our Chair Anne-Fleur and Communications Officer Miguel attended the conference to represent the Student Chapter Board.

The scientific programme was very well set up, not only focusing on wildlife diseases, but addressing topics such as management strategies and conservation as well.

Miguel presented the Student Chapter’s progress during the General Meeting on Sunday, with a special focus on the changes in Student Chapter membership requirements that were implemented several months ago.

On Monday, Anne-Fleur gave a presentation about the way the Student Chapter is build-up, the Country Representative system and recent developments regarding the 7th Student Workshop.

In the afternoon we visited the beautiful  UNESCO biosphere reserve Spree Forest. We went on a very relaxing boat journey navigating the quiet stream branches, before reaching the location where we would have dinner and where the auction would be held. The auction was a great success, with over €2,900 being raised for the Student Chapter.

Tuesday evening, we organised the Student-Mentor mixer. Twelve professionals and forty students participated in this event.

Wednesday was already the last official day of the conference. Congratulations to the winners of the Student Presentation Awards:

  • Lydia Franklinos
  • Iris Marti (highly recommended)
  • Monica Salvioli (highly recommended)

And the winners of the Student Poster Awards:

  • David Walker
  • Cecilia Tegner (highly recommended)
  • Ezgi Akdesir (highly recommended)

The locations of future conference were revealed as well. The next WDA Conference will take place in Mexico and the 13th EWDA conference will be held in Greece.

The new Chair of the EWDA Board Marie-Pierre Ryser-Degiorgis wrapped up the conference with the take-home message that within the next years we should try and focus on solutions for the problems that we are researching, not only the problems themselves.

The conference ended with a delicious banquet, during which Victor Simpson received the WDA Distinguished Service Award.

Compliments to the organisation and a big thank you to all the participants for the interesting lectures, inspirational new ideas, the donations during the auction and above all: the fun.

We’re looking forward to the next conference and hope to see you there!

The EWDA Student Chapter Board


The Student Chapter board is organising the student-mentor-mixer evening, taking place on the 30th August from 18 to 21pm. This is an informal event, to provide students a chance to meet and chat with EWDA professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds and to meet fellow students from around Europe and beyond.

Mentors invited are familiar with previous similar sessions and with tutoring students, and they accepted our invitation promptly.

There will be 6 tables, each with a particular research field and 1 to 3 mentors. Accordingly, 6 rounds of approx. 20 minutes will take place and the idea is that students change table each round and get the chance to talk to all mentors. Drinks and snacks will be available at the beginning of the sessions and between rounds.

The approximate schedule will be as follows:

18-18.20 Welcome, drinks & snacks

18.20-18.30 Introduction by EWDA student board

18.30-18.50 Round 1

18.50-19.10 Round 2

19.10-19.30 Round 3

19.30-19.50 Round 4

19.50-20.10 Round 5

20.10-20.30 Round 6

20.30-21 Leisure time


Table 1: Wildlife pathology

Victor Simpson (Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Centre, Cornwall)

Daniel Martineau (Faculty Veterinary Medicine, Montreal)

Table 2: Disease surveillance

Antonio Lavazza (IZLER, Brescia)

Marco Ignasi (UAB, Barcelona)

Table 3: Virology

Alex Greenwood (IZW, Berlin)

Carlos das Neves (Norwegian Vet Institute, Oslo)

Steven van Beurden (University of Utrecht) – Supervisor of student activities in the EWDA Board

Table 4: One Health approach

Christian Gortázar (SaBio IREC, Ciudad Real)

Lisa Yon (University of Nottingham)

Table 5: Wildlife rehabilitation

Elvira Schenck (Freies Institut fur Wildtierschutz, Wisen)

Table 6: Disease outbreaks

Aleksija Neimanis (SVA, Uppsala)

Thijs Kuiken (EMC, Rotterdam)


Please find additional information on the Conference, including conference booklet, on http://www.izw-berlin.de/EWDA-Conference-European-Wildlife-Disease-Association.htm

We look forward to meeting you there!

EWDA_Conference_Berlin-75eba611The EWDA SC Board,

Anne-Fleur Brand, Sofia Mlala, Miguel Veiga and Catharina Vendl

The EWDA Student Chapter is pleased to announce that the UK Country Representatives will be hosting their first symposium. This one-day symposium will take place in London on October 29th 2016.


Information about the speaker line up will follow soon as well as details on discussion topics, timings, food, how to sign up and get involved!!