Celebrating World Wildlife Day and the important contribution of veterinary medicine

William Woods Undergraduate

World Wildlife Day
March 3 — World Wildlife Day — is an exciting day for pre-vet majors and animal-lovers in general to celebrate all that is being done for the health and protection of living creatures on this earth.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) articulates that, as the only doctors educated in protecting the health of both animals and humans, veterinarians play a critical role in environmental protection, research, food safety and public health.

Research veterinarians specifically work to find new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent diseases and health issues in animals, and in turn have made major contributions to not only the well-being of animals but humans as well.

“In the last few decades, it has become increasingly evident that conservation, our own health, and the health of wild and domestic animals are all inextricably linked,” the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) states. “A single pathogen can wipe out the last populations of an endangered species and, in turn, threaten the stability of local human populations.”

The AVMA goes on to confirm the discoveries that veterinarians have made monitoring the health of animals that have come to protect the health of people. They have “helped control malaria and yellow fever, solved the mystery of botulism, produced an anticoagulant used to treat some people with heart disease, and identified the cause of West Nile virus infection.”

“Thus,” says the WCS, “there is an urgent need to simultaneously address the health of people and animals, recognizing that disease poses challenges to both conservation of the planet’s biodiversity and efforts to improve the quality of human life.”

The health of the earth and the animals, organisms and people that live here are all crucial and interdependent on one another, and by pursuing a career in veterinary medicine you will be impacting more lives than you can know.

In celebration of World Wildlife Day, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) shared some of the biggest wins in animal health and protection from 2016, including but not limited to:

  • Both China and the United States, two of the world’s biggest consumer markets for wildlife products, announced decisions this year to help end illegal elephant ivory trade and halt the global poaching crisis. China vowed to end domestic ivory trade by 2017, and the U.S. set regulations to stop commercial ivory trade within its borders and to combat wildlife crime overseas.
  • For the first time in 100 years, tiger numbers are on the rise—with 3,890 tigers now existing in the wild, as opposed to the estimated 3,200 reported in 2010.
  • All legal trade of pangolins, a critically endangered species and the world’s most trafficked mammal, was put to an end this year.
  • The bison — once on the verge of extinction — was named the national mammal of the United States by the House of Representatives this year.
  • The giant panda moved from the global endangered species list this year and has been downgraded to the vulnerable animal list.

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