Spring 2021

Because we need nature, and now nature needs us
Wild bee collecting pollen on flower
Dear Friends of the Cornell Wildlife Health Center,

I confess I often don’t pay sufficient attention to Earth Day (today!) specifically, as I honestly try to think of... every day as Earth Day. Perhaps it’s a professional hazard— I sometimes lose sight of the fact that thinking about how much we need Earth’s natural systems, the world’s diversity of species, and each other is understandably not something that pervades the public’s consciousness day-in, day-out. Of course that’s why we need formal “Earth Days,” to help remind everyone that we are all essentially hitchhiking together on an incredibly unique, not-all-that-big orb floating in space. Even though we can now fly helicopter drones on Mars (!), we will still only have this one, miraculous sphere to sustain us for generations to come, if we don’t wreck what we still have.

So let’s keep doing all we can, eh? I try to convey to our students here at Cornell, undergraduate and graduate-level (who are understandably worried about their own futures as well as that of the planet), that “saving the world is a growth industry.” I genuinely believe that— there will continue to be more and more meaningful employment opportunities addressing the major threats we all face, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, emerging disease, and so on (all of these things being interrelated, of course). In the U.S. right now, I am very encouraged that we are seeing explicit connections being made between investments in infrastructure, clean energy, health, and environmental stewardship… better late than never!

There are, I think, reasons to be increasingly (albeit cautiously) optimistic during what continues to be a uniquely unsettling and unsettled time— please get your COVID vaccines, treat everyone with the same compassion and respect you desire, recognize that truth, integrity, and justice are among our greatest resources, and remember that we are certainly more resilient and successful when we work, and play, together.

Please enjoy the shoots of Spring as they find you (we’ve only had a teaser in Ithaca so far), and celebrate Earth Day on as many days as you can!

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

PSSpeaking of all things being interrelated, in case you missed it, our virtual symposium, "Emerging Disease, Wildlife Trade and Consumption: The Need for Robust Global Governance," explored ways to prevent future pandemics with ideas shared by leading experts in public health and conservation. The video recording is available here. We had over 3,000 registrants from around the world and the event was highlighted in this New York Times column "One Year Later, We Still Have No Plan to Prevent the Next Pandemic" as well as in this Cornell Chronicle piece "Wildlife Regulation, ‘One Health’ Keys to Avert More Pandemics."
Cornell Wildlife Health Center donor Sue Holt describes how a special connection to southern Africa led her and her husband Jerry to support our Beyond Fences program and make a significant difference in the well-being of people and wildlife in the region.
A research team led by Cornell's Dr. Robin Radcliffe found that airlifting critically endangered black rhinos upside down via helicopter when moving them away from poaching hotspots is better for rhino health than lying them down on their sides.
Having treated 1,750 native wild animals in 2020, the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Hospital excels in providing lifesaving care to a wide range of species and invaluable training for Cornell veterinary students.
A research team, led by our Wild Carnivore Health Specialist Dr. Martin Gilbert, has found that vaccinating against canine distemper virus could play a key role in improving conservation outcomes for endangered Amur tiger populations.

Lindsey Schneider, DVM '13, researched dental pathology of jaguars in Belize during her Dentistry and Oral Surgery Residency at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Cornell's long-standing partnership with The Belize Zoo provides care for wildlife and trains veterinary students and residents.
As a Cornell undergraduate, Mariacamila Garcia Estrella '17, worked on a conservation project with critically endangered Javan rhinos in Indonesia. The trip inspired her current path as a Cornell Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Public Health candidate.
While Indian tigers have the highest genetic variation compared to other subspecies of the feline across the world, their populations continue to be fragmented by loss of habitat— leading to inbreeding and potential loss of this diversity.
Cornell alumnus and aspiring conservationist Zachary Dvornicky-Raymond ’15, DVM ’19, recently published a paper on his research as a veterinary student on a point-of-care blood test for pregnancy detection in wild ungulates.
The Cornell Wildlife Health Center’s Dr. Martin Gilbert and project partners have documented the first case of neurologic disease in a Bengal tiger caused by a tapeworm that people can acquire from eating undercooked pork.
Your gift literally means the world to us!
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.

Let us know if you have any comments on this e-newsletter, and forward to a friend if you find it useful! Thank you for your support.
Cornell Wildlife Health Center | wildlife.cornell.edu | s.osofsky@cornell.edu