Creating change with research


The world is currently facing a "Pangolin Crisis".

The African white-bellied tree pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) exploitation for bushmeat and traditional medicine has caused 97% reduction in the wild population. The drastic decline is affecting wild population demographics because larger, potentially older animals, are hunted and removed from the wild. But, the full extent of this change cannot be determined because there are no criteria to determine the age for African tree pangolin. Without the ability to determine the age for pangolin, we also cannot provide appropriate care for individuals that have been rescued from the wild or confiscated.

Veterinarians are uniquely positioned to develop guidelines to estimate pangolin age by using diagnostic tools routinely used in veterinary medicine. In this granted study, we propose new research to understand the growth and development of the African tree pangolin by using health data including radiographs (x-ray imaging) and laboratory diagnostics (blood work) combined with fecal hormone (thyroid function) and body size assessments. We will combine these methods to distinguish juvenile from the adult life stage and develop a guideline for age estimates for all pangolin of this species.

The overall goal is to develop diagnostic tools to characterize the African tree pangolin growth and development and to identify implications for species conservation and health assessments.

How do you treat a spiny sea urchin?

Very carefully according to zoo and wildlife veterinarians! And the treatment has less to do with our safety than theirs!

Pharmacokinetics is the study of how the body processes drugs. Having this knowledge makes it possible to provide the best treatment for animals. For many important species, we have little or no information to go on. Hence, this is especially true for sea urchins.

Sea urchins are vital to the ocean's ecosystem. They provide food for predators and regulate algae and kelp forest growth. When large numbers of sea urchins die at once, it is called a mass mortality event. These events result from disease-causing organisms in their habitat. The sea urchins can develop opportunistic infections, which leads to the die off. The whole ecosystem suffers. So, having a reliable treatment for these diseases is a pressing need.

But how do veterinarians know the right drugs, dosages, and treatment protocols to use? Pharmacokinetic research provides the answers and the knowledge they require. In this 2015 project, a specific dosage was determined to prove effective in antimicrobial treatments for the sea urchins with respect to species-specific pathogens.  It is with your support of the Wild Animal Health Fund that we can work together to solve this prickly problem.

Animals can't ask for help. That's why we're here.

The Wild Animal Health Fund advocates for the injured, sick and dying animals all around the world. With your help, we can make a difference.