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The Good and Bad of Bacteria in Wildlife
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Zoo and wildlife veterinarians are making discoveries to optimize the health, welfare and and conservation of zoo animals and wildlife through critical research and studies. 


Recent research has shown that bacteria living in and on the body can have an impact on your health.  But what about wildlife? 

Unfortunately, we know very little about how the microbiome is related to health and disease in wild animal populations, because until now it has been logistically very difficult and expensive to study.

In a study funded by the Wild Animal Health Fund, they are addressing this problem by taking advantage of a large, collaborative study on African buffalo in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Zoo veterinarians are working with scientists from research institutions spread across four continents to collect the most comprehensive microbiome dataset yet obtained from a wildlife population. They are carefully analyzing data on nasal, gut, and rumen microbiomes, in parallel with detailed health and disease data, that was collected from over a hundred buffalo at regular intervals during the course of a three-year study. The results will help them understand the complicated relationships between microbes and wildlife health, and hopefully contribute toward improving conservation and disease management efforts in buffalo and other economically and ecologically important wildlife populations.

They believe that in the effort to promote wildlife conservation, public education should go hand-in-hand with research advancement. Thus, they are using this study as a chance to engage in outreach with the local communities surrounding our study site in South Africa. Members of the research group have initiated several community outreach projects, including collaborating with a South African nonprofit to host a science leadership camp for high school students from economically disadvantaged districts near our site. Students with an interest in ecology and conservation were able to join them in the field research and receive mentoring from Kruger National Park scientists and veterinarians. 

Donate now to further animal health studies that are imperative in the health and well-being of wildlife animals.

Make your donation in honor of or in the memory of someone special.  Thank you for taking action to support animal health for our wildlife friends.

 Donate Online or Mail-in the Donation Form


The American Association of Zoo Veterinarians is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Together we meet the future challenges with excitement and optimism.

To see a full listing of the 2018 Approved and Funded projects, click HERE.


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