Probiotics for Bats 

Dr Cori Lausen of WCS is part of a team trialling probiotics to save bats of western North America from the deadly fungal disease "white-nose syndrome" (WNS) which has killed more than 5.7 million bats in the east and is spreading westward. In some hibernacula, 90 to 100 percent of bats have died. Probiotics combat disease-causing microbes in humans and the team believes they can do the same in bats, having identified 14 bacteria that inhibit the growth of the WNS fungus. Instead of being ingested, the probiotics are administered in a powder form contacted by the bats as they enter and exit their summer roosts.

Surveying the Scarlet Macaw
The spectacular scarlet macaw (Ara macao) is a Neotropical parrot native to the humid, evergreen forests of Latin America. The species has suffered local extinctions through habitat destruction and hunting for the pet trade. WCS veterinarians in Guatemala are conducting health monitoring of wild scarlet macaws, collecting feathers, blood and cloacal swabs to test for diseases that threaten their conservation such as Pacheco's disease, psittacine beak and feather disease, polyomavirus, herpes virus and chlamydia.

Star Tortoise Comeback
The Burmese star tortoise (Geochelone platynota) , native to Myanmar, is critically endangered as the result of excessive hunting for food and for the global pet trade, where the tortoise is in high demand as a result of beautiful radiating star-shaped patterns on its strongly domed carapace. WCS veterinarians have played a key role in a stunningly successful breeding program in Myanmar that has seen populations rebound from just a few hundred remaining in the early 2000s to around 14,000 today.

Future Disease Detectives
 Veterinary pathologists from the Bronx Zoo recently conducted trainings in Laos, Mongolia and Vietnam to assist future wildlife health specialists in the identification of wildlife diseases, which can help inform appropriate strategies for disease prevention. Pathology, "the study of disease," is a vital component of conservation: when diseases spread in endangered populations they can wipe out entire species and cause significant disruption to an ecosystem as a whole.

The Wildlife Conservation Society was among the first zoos in the world to have full time veterinary care for their animals, with a clinician and pathologist hired in 1903 and a zoo animal hospital opening at the Bronx Zoo in 1916. We were also one of the first conservation organizations with a dedicated team of wildlife veterinarians deployed around the world to address the health of free ranging wildlife and problem-solve at the wildlife / domestic animal / human health and livelihoods interface, all underpinned by a foundation of environmental stewardship.
To learn how to support the  One World - One Health  portfolio at WCS, please contact Dr. Chris Walzer at or Dr. Paul Calle at .

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Photo Credits- D.Bobbitt/USFS (Bat); WCS Guatemala (Scarlet macaw); WCS Thailand (Burmese star tortoise);
EPRC (Pathology Training)