Why Wildlife?

One of the main questions I get when people find out that I want to be a wildlife and exotic animal veterinarian is Why Wildlife? Today I wanted to go into a little bit of why I want to be a veterinarian, but not only that but also why I want to specialize in wildlife.

I love elephants, but it's a good thing this time he's blurred out

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Since I was four years old, animals have kind of always been my thing.  I was the kid that came home with random animals that I would find injured on the street.  One time when I was around four years old, my brother and I saw a bird fall onto our fire escape.  I know enough about wild animals to know now that you should probably should not be picking up injured wildlife (which honestly, does not stop me), but four year old me felt the need to revive this poor bird.  My brother and I took her in, put her in a cage (which for some reason we just had available) and made it our mission to make sure this bird liveds.  Looking back, there is so much we did not know, but somehow a week later the bird flew out of our window like nothing had happened.

When you see a peacock, you selfie with the peacock

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I love the idea of having to figure out the reason for an issue, and then fixing the problem at hand.  With that said, I could just stick with domestic animals which would not be a problem at all.  I love domestic animals (I dedicate Mondays on this blog to them), but they are not where my heart lies.  The first time I went to a zoo, it was like I had Aladdin in my ear just singing “A Whole New World”.  It was all of the animals that I had heard about, but never saw.  Then I walked up to the tiger exhibit, and I wish I could explain the mesmerization that I had gone through in that moment.  

That night, I spent hours on Wikipedia learning everything you possibly can about tigers.  That It was also the night that I learned  for the first time that wild animals get sick too (I know, I know it seems like obvious knowledge but I was a child) From that moment on, it was almost a given that I would be a veterinarian, not only because I love animals, but because I am so interested is strengethed by how genuinely interested I am in medicine and immunology.  

 

To me, there is something so fascinating about the way the body responds to infectious organisms, and in how organisms infect bodies. The whole idea of zoonotic diseases is so amazing to me, which is what gets me into my love of wildlife medicine– 60% of human diseases come from wildlife. There are so many domestic diseases that can affect wildlife.  (for example did you know that tigers can get Canine Distemper Virus).  Last year, I was lucky enough to take a class that centered all around wildlife diseases (thank you Penn State) and that’s where I learned about the One Health Initiative.  The One Health Initiative is a movement towards combining animal, human and environmental health. Learning about the One Health movement only further solidified my interest in wildlife medicine.  There is so much that we don’t look at as people because it is not directly related to humans, however can indirectly negatively affect us.  I could go more into why I believe the One Health movement is incredible, but I’ll save that for another post.

Basically, I can talk all day about why I want to be a veterinarian.  At the end of the day, it comes down to the fact that this is truly a profession that I can see myself being happy in.  I spent my entire life being interested in everything: from writing, to art, to law, to business, but nothing has ever kept me intrigued like wildlife medicine has.  I don’t know if this is what I will want to do my entire life, but right now this is the path I’ve chosen for myself and I’m excited to see where I can take it!.

So next time someone asks me, “Why Wildlife”, I’ll just respond “Why not?”

Some of our greatest minds live in the water

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Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed a little bit of my own story.  If you all like me talking about my experiences and want me to start making posts about school, my studies, extracurriculars, just tell me about it and I can start incorporating that into my stream.

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