100 Years of Animal Health
In the Fall of 1916, WCS's Bronx zoo opened one of the first dedicated zoo animal hospitals in the world. Our approach to wild animal health has evolved with the organization:  From caring for endangered animals at our zoos and aquarium, to aiding rural communities with livestock health, to monitoring the health status of elusive gorillas in the wild, WCS veterinarians, epidemiologists, and other health science professionals work together to ensure the health of wildlife species around the globe.

Poison Threatens Wildlife and Human Health
In Cambodia, a spate of wildlife deaths, including critically endangered vultures, and sickness in local villagers led to an 8 month long investigation by the wildlife health team that identified a toxic pesticide as the culprit in both cases.
Shark Surprises in the Long Island Sound
Our local marine research recently identified  a nursery area for sand tiger sharks ( Carcharias taurus ) in Long Island’s Great South Bay. Such nurseries are  integral to shark protection and conservation. We also  partnered with OCEARCH to tag young white sharks on the Atlantic coast for the first time:  WCS's Aquatic Health Veterinarian Dr. Harley Newton collected blood samples from 9 Atlantic white sharks in Long Island Sound and ran an onboard  laboratory to assess shark health and physiological changes associated with the procedures. 
Proactively Protecting Bats 
White-nose syndrome (WNS) has caused unprecedented mortality in bat populations in eastern North America, spreading  from a single site in New York in 2006 to 29 states and 5 Canadian provinces, with continued westward expansion. 

WCS epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Olson is working with a team studying the physiology and behavior of western bat species, using models to assess species susceptibility to WNS infection in order to proactively strengthen bat conservation approaches.
Disease Risks of Wildlife Trade
Trade in wildlife threatens not only biodiversity but also human health, demonstrated by outbreaks of SARS coronavirus, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Monkeypox. From 2010 to 2013, our wildlife health team in Lao PDR conducted surveys of markets selling wildlife and observed 6,452 animals listed locally as near extinct or threatened with extinction. Almost two thousand wild mammals from 12 taxonomic families capable of hosting 36 zoonotic pathogens were noted. 

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 pcalle@wcs.org .

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