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Keywords:

  • conservation;
  • disease;
  • health;
  • species;
  • wildlife;
  • zoo veterinarian

The challenges to execute wildlife conservation projects successfully have become more complex as anthropogenic changes continue to stress the planet, changing wild lands. As the wild becomes less so, more species are placed in captivity to improve their chances of long-term survival, while concurrently management (and medicine) for free-ranging wildlife has become increasingly important. A variety of disciplines, including veterinary medicine, is now recognized as key to wildlife conservation. Although veterinarians have been involved in conservation for decades, it is only recently that their role has become more appreciated in the larger conservation community. This realization of the contributions of veterinarians has occurred at a time when disease has been recognized as significantly impacting species' conservation both in situ and ex situ. Today, veterinarians work with captive and free-ranging animals to prevent and/or treat diseases that threaten species' survival. Most of these diseases are associated with the increasing human footprint. In this paper, I present wildlife health in today's world and the zoo veterinarian's role in wildlife conservation.