Dear Friends of the Cornell Wildlife Health Center,
As we all continue to navigate these uncertain times, I wanted to share and celebrate some good news with you – I'm excited to announce our official launch as the Cornell Wildlife Health Center, as supported by our new website. Some may feel that this is a strange time to be moving forward with this endeavor, but I would disagree: the inextricable relationships between humanity and the natural world have never been more clear.
From the devastating impacts of the pandemic crisis to apocalyptic wildfires in the American West and around the world to the hurricanes rolling in, these events are a stark reminder that we need much more widespread understanding of the fact that our own health and well-being are intimately tied to how we treat the natural world. Forests, freshwater systems, oceans, grasslands and the biodiversity within them support humanity with (among other things) clean air, clean water, a climate stabilizing mechanism and healthy food. Thus, whether we are talking about mitigating the global climate crisis or preventing the next pandemic, we need to redefine our relationships with wild nature and our fellow species at this critical juncture in the history of human civilization. The health of people, wildlife and domestic animals are all inextricably linked and impacted by how well — or not — we steward environmental and socioeconomic policies.
Wildlife populations have continued to decline dramatically. But there is still hope – a recent study published in Conservation Letters shows that since 1993, extinction rates for birds and mammals would have been 3-4 times higher without conservation action. At this critical time for the future of the world's wildlife, the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has made us an official Center in recognition of our demonstrated success in enhancing synergy among our many wildlife health programs, augmenting student opportunities, and promoting a multidisciplinary approach to addressing key wildlife conservation as well as related public health challenges. The Center unites wildlife health professionals and other stakeholders from across the college, the university, and the world, with a mandate for moving science into policy and action — for developing long-term solutions that benefit the health of people and nature alike.
To learn more, please see this press release on our launch, and on our work to secure a healthy future for wildlife and wild places, and thus for all of us.
Thank you for your interest and support, and I hope that you are all keeping safe,
Steve Osofsky, DVM
Director, Cornell Wildlife Health Center
Jay Hyman Professor of Wildlife Health & Health Policy
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine