New Executive Director for the Wildlife Health Program 
WCS is excited to welcome Dr. Chris Walzer as the new Executive Director of the Wildlife Health Program. Chris received his degree from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria, and has worked in private practice, as a zoo veterinarian, Vice-Director for the Salzburg Zoo, and Vice-Director of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna’s Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology. He is a Diplomate in the European College of Zoological Medicine (Wildlife Population Health), a Certified Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine and Animal Welfare and Husbandry and a Member of the IUCN’s Conservation Breeding Specialist and Wildlife Health Specialist Groups.

Saiga Succumb Again
In 2015, over 70% of the world’s Saiga antelope were wiped out by a disease epidemic in Central Asia. Since December 2016, another disease, Peste de Petit Ruminants (PPR), has ravaged the remaining Mongolian population, killing over 5,000 of the estimated 10,000 Saiga in the country. The PPR outbreak has also impacted other wildlife in the region, including ibex and Mongolian gazelle. WCS veterinarians are studying the outbreak and working with local 
herders to vaccinate domestic livestock, the likely source of infection.

A Big Threat to Big-headed Turtles 
Big-headed turtles, Platysternon megacephalum, are unusual turtles, being fairly weak swimmers, but using their strong beak and long tail to climb obstacles in and around rivers and streams. They are considered Endangered by the IUCN as a result of excessive hunting and trade for consumption in Southeast Asia and China. WCS was recently involved in supporting the rescue and rehabilitation of over 800 of these unique reptiles in Myanmar. 

Elephants Stuck In the Mud
The wildlife health team in Cambodia recently joined a dramatic combined effort between WCS, the Cambodian Ministry of the Environment and other conservation NGOs to rescue 11 wild elephants in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary. The herd of elephants had come to drink water that had collected in a large bomb crater left over from the Vietnam war when they became stuck in the muddy hole.

Frozen Turtles
The Eastern box turtle (Terrapene Carolina) is the only turtle known to be freeze-tolerant as an adult, with laboratory studies showing them as capable of withstanding freezing of as much as 58% of their body water. Dr Paul Calle,  WCS Vice President for Health Programs and Chief Veterinarian, was recently involved in the first study of super-cooling in over-wintering Eastern box turtles in the wild

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. Paul Calle at .

 And please let us know if you have comments on this e-newsletter.

If you find our newsletter useful, please forward it to a friend- thanks!