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View from a Vet: Connecting Wildlife Health with Human Health

Everything is connected: that is the overarching lesson of ecology, and it’s the central tenet of the work of wild animal veterinarian Joares May, Jr. He joins us from Brazil to talk with Expedition Leader Helder Brandao about how wildlife health is a barometer for ecosystem health, including the well-being of humans. Affiliated with conservation nonprofits Onçafari and Panthera and the Brazilian government, Joares focuses on jaguars, pumas, ocelots and other carnivores. In essence, if there are healthy apex predators in a habitat, they function as umbrella species via which scientists can explore and assess habitat quality through study results. Find out how he captures animals to conduct research, making biological and veterinary analyses of wildlife health, and rewilding and habituating species. When habitats are degraded by human activities, the results show up in wild animals—for instance, mercury-tainted water that harms jaguars. Science-informed ecotourism can mitigate such negative impacts by bringing alternate income sources and providing motivation to improve environmental quality so wildlife (which attracts tourism) can flourish. Local people learn to see nature and natural resources as valuable and worth protecting in order to create sustainable income opportunities. And when an apex predator like the jaguar is present in a given location, it can be regarded as sentinel safeguarding the health of the environment. Joares May, Jr. is a professor at several universities in Brazil and a member of the IUCN Canids Specialist Group. He has developed research projects in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Belize and Mexico.


Originally presented November 23, 2021
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Together, Natural Habitat Adventures and World Wildlife Fund have teamed up to arrange nearly a hundred nature travel experiences around the globe, while helping to protect the spectacular places we visit and their wild inhabitants.

Natural Habitat Adventures 2022 Catalog

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View Our 2022 Digital Catalog
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