One HealthThe idea of One Health is not new, but it has only recently gained momentum.
The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Program (MGVP) which I worked for from 2006-2009, was one of the first such programs. While there, I learned that it takes a tremendous amount of collaboration, cooperation, and communication to be successful.
In 2010, the University of California, Davis, where I went to veterinary school, established a new One Health Institute, which is now the parent organization of the MGVP.
The initiative known as One Health, One World, One Medicine was established by the leaders of several veterinary and human health professional organizations. It is now gaining momentum. To find out out about this initiative visit One Health Initiative, One Health Commission and Mizzou Advantage, University of Missouri, One Health/One Medicine
Though not all labeled "one-health," many zoos and non-profit organizations are taking an increasingly collaborative, holistic and global approach to conservation. This is a very good sign, especially in light of the gloomy news that both the number of species at risk of extinction and the number of people who are hungry continues to climb. The limiting factor, it seems, is the size of the organization. So far, only the larger entities are able to put the pieces together to make one-health conservation work. In the end, for one-health conservation to work, we need more organizations, more people with different areas of expertise, and more funding.
Giant Otters and One Health
Otters remind me, in some ways, of dogs. In other ways, they're cat-like. There's something very endearing about these athletic, powerful and playful animals. They can be tamed, but only to a point. Ultimately, water is their home. The more I've worked with otters, the more my interest has grown, not only in these amazing animals, but also in their environment and in their interactions with people.
Karanambu is in the middle of an extraordinary natural area. It is the home of Diane McTurk, a world-renowned expert on giant otters who, along with her family, founded a private charity in 1997, the Karanambu Trust. The Trust's mission is to ensure the sustainable use of the Karanambu wetlands and savanna through wildlife and habitat conservation, research and education in partnership with local communities. I serve on the board of Trustees, and as Secretary. Karanambu is also the home of the award-winning Karanambu Lodge.
To find out how you can help go to:
World Wildlife Fund
Wildlife Conservation Society (includes Bronx Zoo)
London Zoological Society
San Diego Zoological Society (includes San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park)