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Points of VIEW - Fall 2023 Newsletter

Updated: Oct 15, 2023

Health - the missing piece in wildlife conservation
Dr. Deborah McCauley, Co-Founder and Executive Director of VIEW, with an orphaned black rhino at Ol Jogi Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya.

The health of our planet lies in the balance as one million species are at risk of extinction; wild mammals sadly make up just 4% of the world’s biomass (62% livestock and 34% humans) and the climate crisis is accelerating. COVID-19 has brought the world to its knees and reminds us that there is a direct and intricate link between human health, animal health and ecosystem health.

We humans are both the cause of and the solution to the challenges we face. To avoid extinctions and succeed in protecting endangered species, we need to include health as an integral part of wildlife conservation strategies worldwide. In my lifetime we have seen that improved human health directly correlates to increased human population growth. By studying animals’ health, it is possible to apply similar measures to the quickly dwindling wildlife populations, in real time and with immediate results.

VIEW’s expert team of veterinarians is working to protect endangered wildlife by tackling the health threats they face in their native habitat. We support sustainable wildlife disease investigation, prevention, and treatment by providing training, infrastructure, and research, always in collaboration with local stakeholders and by engaging local communities. Furthermore, Wildlife Health Information System (WHIS), VIEW’s electronic health surveillance platform, enables us to easily replicate our conservation efforts across national parks and, biodiverse ecosystems, or directly to critically endangered species.

Our newsletter Points of VIEW will keep you up-to-date on the latest news and advances in wildlife conservation and how VIEW has made a difference in improving the health of rhinos, elephants, grizzly bears and other species. This month’s update takes us to Africa and North America and shares some insight into our educational and community outreach efforts in the field.

Building a Sustainable Future for Rwandan Wildlife

As summer 2023 draws to a close, VIEW is proud to highlight our impactful efforts in safeguarding Rwanda's diverse wildlife. With your support, we've trained almost 350 wildlife professionals, this year alone, with the skills to monitor and detect early signs of disease. This work supports Rwanda’s efforts to increase wildlife populations and empowers local people. Alongside our workshops, we are developing on-site leadership through early-career veterinary internships to ensure this work continues long beyond VIEW’s involvement (see page 14 of VIEW’s Rwanda Wildlife Health Training Report).

Our commitment extends to community engagement, where we are planning a disease surveillance and vaccination campaign for domestic dogs in communities bordering Akagera National Park. Diseases in domestic dogs threaten the survival of wild carnivores and even humans as evident by the prevalence of rabies in the surrounding communities. Your support is crucial as we continue to build a resilient Rwandan wildlife health workforce and work towards a future where Rwanda's species thrive. We extend our heartfelt thanks for your involvement in this crucial mission. For more information about this work, click here for VIEW’s Rwanda Wildlife Health Training Report.

Inspiring Passion for Wildlife Conservation in Samburu, Kenya
Members of the Oromoidei Community on Namunyak Conservancy with VIEW’s Dr. Dawn Zimmerman in Samburu, Kenya

In the heart of Samburu, Kenya, where pastoralist communities coexist with endangered wildlife, VIEW and the Institute of Primate Research are on a mission to ignite a passion for conservation, especially among young girls. Generously supported by Conservation Nation, our initiatives include conducting educational workshops, establishing Wildlife Conservation Warrior Clubs in local schools, developing mentorships with inspiring local female conservationists, as well as organizing field trips to the exemplar community-led Reteti Elephant Sanctuary. We've also granted three deserving Samburu girls full scholarships for secondary school.

The local communities have a vast amount of traditional knowledge and experience that can be harnessed as a valuable asset in wildlife conservation. Hence, engaging and partnering with them is key to successful and sustainable conservation programs. With your support, we can continue our commitment to inspire the next generation of Samburu conservationists. Click here to learn more about our work in Kenya.

Greater Yellowstone Grizzly Bears - On the road to recovery

VIEW continues its work in the United States, focusing on the Greater Yellowstone region’s most iconic species. We’ve worked in collaboration with universities and government agencies on bison and moose health in the past, and are currently focusing on grizzly bear populations. For thousands of years, the grizzly bear, a magnificent and powerful keystone species, has roamed the forests and mountains of the western United States, representing an integral part of the Rocky Mountain ecosystem.

However, as of 2023, they have disappeared from 98% of their original habitat. In order to give wildlife professionals a better understanding of how grizzly bear health is impacting their conservation status, VIEW is utilizing historic data to develop a pioneering electronic database. Click here to learn more.

Our Team is Strengthening

Charline Rutagengwa, BVM

Dr. Charline Rutagengwa joins us as a veterinarian based at the University of Rwanda (UR), to lead VIEW’s collaboration with the university. As a recent graduate from UR College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, she is passionate about conservation medicine and wildlife health research. Her dissertation allowed her to research the prevalence of anaplasmosis, babesiosis and theileriosis and their associated risk factors in cattle - which she highlights are diseases that can also affect wildlife. She completed an academic internship at Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board, where she performed a diverse variety of activities including laboratory work for disease testing, field research, and community engagement. Dr. Rutagengwa is excited to transfer these skills to help mitigate disease transmission at the livestock-wildlife interface.

Dasha Maghooli

Dasha currently serves as VIEW’s Operations Manager after spending most of her career in healthcare administration, with a five-year hiatus teaching at universities in Thailand and South Korea. She has Master’s degrees in sociology and education from California State University and Harvard Graduate School of Education. Before joining VIEW, she founded a website highlighting conservation projects at AZA-accredited zoos, and currently serves as a volunteer docent at the Los Angeles Zoo and a transporter for California Wildlife Center. She is excited to be able to merge her professional skills with her passion for wildlife conservation.

Ulla Karppinen

Ulla joins VIEW as our Director of Communications. She is a global marketing and corporate communications professional with more than 30 years of experience in banking, telecommunications and business education. Ulla has worked in leading multinational organizations such as Nokia, IE Business School and BBVA. She has a solid track record in creating effective communication and marketing strategies for companies that want to expand into new markets or strengthen their internal communications. Her strategic capacity and 360º vision of communication allow her to add value to the positioning of any organization. Ulla is a world citizen who speaks 6 languages and besides her home country, Finland, has lived in Brazil, Germany, USA, UK, Spain and Luxembourg. She is very passionate about wildlife conservation, whether on land or in the seas, and is looking forward to helping VIEW increase our impact.

If you would like to join us and help VIEW to make a difference in wildlife conservation, please make a donation here.


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