Fall 2023

Collage of Cornell veterinary students in the field and in clinical settings working with wildlife and livestock

Dear Friends of the Cornell Wildlife Health Center,

Over a career underpinned by a reverence for nature and buffeted by unprecedented environmental crises, I've come to a fundamental realization: securing a future for wildlife fundamentally depends upon the strength and resilience of our connections with each other. This edition of our newsletter celebrates the rich tapestry of experiences among our faculty, staff, students, and alumni—an entire Cornell community tirelessly dedicated to collaborating with local partners worldwide, all united in the mission to secure a future for wildlife and wild places. Across the Americas and on to Africa and Asia— our collective reach increasingly spans the globe.

Just this past summer, Cornell veterinary students immersed themselves in a remarkable range of conservation efforts, working to protect the health of gorillas, cheetahs, sloths, dholes, sea turtles, hornbills, vultures—and more. I invite you to explore the compelling stories below and delve deeper into the world of our exceptional community of leaders and learners, and to better get to know the biodiversity we are all striving to protect. We truly need nature, and nature needs us now more than ever.

Yours in One Health,


Steve Osofsky, DVM
Director, Cornell Wildlife Health Center
Jay Hyman Professor of Wildlife Health & Health Policy
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

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Learning to 'Walk with Gorillas': Awe-inspiring Moments in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Gorillas in the forest in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

Check out this reel by Cornell veterinary student Carolina Baquerizo, DVM ‘24, who came across this gorilla family while working with Conservation Through Public Health, one of our treasured NGO partners, in and around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to assess the presence of Salmonella in gorillas, livestock and people. Read Carolina’s blog post here.

Releasing a vulture

Vulture Conservation in South Africa

Christel-Remy Kuck, DVM '24, lends a hand to struggling vulture populations in South Africa, helping with rehabilitation, captive breeding and release.

A cheetah cub

Fast and Furry-ous: Cheetah Conservation in Namibia

Stacy Kaneko, DVM ’24, spent time with our esteemed colleagues at the Cheetah Conservation Fund, applying a One Health approach to cheetah conservation in Namibia.


Dr. Hayley Murphy with a gorilla in the wild

A Conversation with Hayley Murphy, DVM ‘92, Detroit Zoological Society

We sat down with Cornell alum Dr. Hayley Murphy, CEO of the Detroit Zoological Society, and discussed her career journey as a zoological veterinarian and wildlife conservationist.

Helen Lee in a Kyrgyzstan village

Cornell Staff Stories: Helen Lee

Helen Lee ’03, MBA ‘20, our assistant director of wildlife health and health policy, talks about her work and the journey that led her back to Cornell where she is making a difference for wildlife and people.

Veterinarians as Custodians of Coral Reefs

Hery Ríos-Guzmán, DVM ‘24, worked on coral health this past summer, and describes how veterinarians can help coral reefs overcome a range of threats.

A sloth injured by electrocution

Treating Wildlife in Costa Rica

Sophie Turner, DVM ’25, spent a summer with the Jaguar Rescue Center in Costa Rica to help provide medical treatment for electrocuted sloths, wounded opossums, and confiscated sea turtles.

Tatiana Weisbrod feeding a manatee

Alumni Spotlight: Tatiana Weisbrod, DVM ‘17, University of Florida

Cornell alum Dr. Tatiana Weisbrod once thought medical school was in her future, until she found the Cornell AQUAVET® program, which changed the trajectory of her career.

Two great green macaws

Saving the Great Green and Scarlet Macaws

Mio Ito, DVM '24, writes about her experiences working with the Macaw Recovery Network in Costa Rica.

Sarah Balik treating a sea turtle

Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Balik ‘15, DVM ‘19, National Aquarium

Recently completing a Veterinary Fellowship at the National Aquarium, Sarah Balik recalls the experiences she had as a Cornell veterinary student that set her on her current path.

Katherine Zhou Rubinstein treating a polar bear

The Future of Zoos: Reflections on a San Diego Zoo Externship

At the San Diego Zoo, Katherine Zhou Rubinstein, DVM '23, learned how strong working relationships were the keystone for maintaining healthy zoo animals.


Testing Tigers: Creating Partnerships to Assess Disease Threats to Tiger Conservation

A tiger walking through the forest

Dr. Martin Gilbert, our wild carnivore health specialist, reflects on his decades-long research into canine distemper virus in endangered wild tigers, from the Russian Far East to Southeast Asia, and the valuable partnerships he has developed to help implement disease surveillance systems to monitor wild tiger health.

One Health in Nepal - Why Dogs Count!

Laura Bernert ’23, DVM '27, conducted a census of free-roaming dogs near Nepal's Chitwan National Park, where diseases can spread between domestic dogs and wildlife.

Conservation Medicine in the Philippines

Ashley Broderick, DVM ’26, conducted field surveys and a wildlife health research project on endangered hornbill species to help aid veterinarians who care for hornbills worldwide.

Pastures in the Pamirs

Cornell alum Daniel Foley, DVM '21, traveled to Tajikistan to assess the risks around disease spillover between livestock and the wild species that share the same pastures in the Pamir Mountains.

The Simplest Way to Prevent the Next Pandemic? Leave Bats Alone.

Bats hanging off a tree

The Cornell Wildlife Health Center and the Wildlife Conservation Society joined forces to tell the world: "The Simplest Way to Prevent the Next Pandemic? Leave Bats Alone." This piece was recently featured in Undark as well as Salon online magazines, and is based upon our paper published in The Lancet Planetary Health


The Cornell Wildlife Health Center Welcomes Maggie Swift!

Maggie Swift in the field

We're excited to welcome Dr. Maggie Swift as a Cornell Atkinson Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr. Swift will be using existing data from radio-collared elephants and other species and advanced computer modeling to evaluate optimal scenarios for integrative, sustainable land-use management.


Featured Podcast: Youth Geographic Association's Humans of Nature Podcast with Martin Gilbert

A vulture flying close to the ground

Cornell's Dr. Martin Gilbert was interviewed for a podcast about his journey into vulture conservation and ecology in Asia and Africa, and his meticulous biomedical detective work that revealed the cause of a crash of South Asia’s vulture population—helping to reverse a dire situation in the nick of time.


More in the News


Newman, Plowright, Wolchok Elected to National Academy of Medicine

Injured Bald Eagle Successfully Recovers at the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital

MeatEater Podcast | Animal Diseases with Dr. Krysten Schuler

Steven Osofsky, DVM '89, Receives Award at AVMA Meeting

New Paper: Ecological Characterization of 175 Low-Pathogenicity Avian Influenza Viruses Isolated from Wild Birds in Mongolia, 2009–2013 and 2016–2018

New Paper: Reduced Genetic Diversity in Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros in Chitwan National Park: A New Challenge and Opportunity for Rhino Conservation in Nepal

New Paper: Ciprofloxacin-Resistant ST198 Salmonella Kentucky in a Hospitalized American Black Bear (Ursus Americanus), with Evidence of Subsequent Nosocomial Transmission

Will you partner with us to secure a healthy future for wildlife, people and planet?
Our critical wildlife conservation work is completely dependent upon funding we're able to raise. Will you consider making a gift to the Cornell Wildlife Health Center?
Your support literally means the world to us.
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Please consider supporting the Cornell Wildlife Health Center by giving online or contacting Alison Smith at 607-254-6129 or ars1@cornell.edu. Naming opportunities can also be explored. Thank you!
The Cornell Wildlife Health Center transforms science into impact through discovery, education, engagement, and policy to ensure a healthy future for wildlife and the environment that supports us all.

To learn more about the Cornell Wildlife Health Center, please contact Dr. Steve Osofsky at s.osofsky@cornell.edu or visit our website.

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Cornell Wildlife Health Center | wildlife.cornell.edu | s.osofsky@cornell.edu
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