Murdoch expert speaks alongside Jane Goodall

September 30, 2008

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Dr Jane Goodall, world renowned primatologist, humanitarian and UN Messenger of Peace is sharing stories from her latest book called Hope for Nature Australia-wide in October, starting in Perth on October 1.

Dr Kris Warren with British anthropologist Dame Jane Goodall, DBE.

Murdoch’s wildlife conservation expert, Dr Kris Warren, will be at the Perth Concert Hall forum alongside Dr Goodall to speak about the disruption of natural ecosystems which leads to human and animal health being affected and global biodiversity loss:

"My experiences working in the field of conservation medicine and studying the health of endangered wild animals have highlighted to me how closely the health of animals, humans and the planet as a whole, are inter-linked.

As we investigate the major factors threatening biodiversity such as climate change, habitat destruction, the effects of environmental contaminants, the impact of introduced species, and the over-exploitation of wildlife for trade; there is increasing recognition of one factor that has the potential not only to compound the effect of other threatening agents, but also to be a serious threat in its own right – and that is Disease.

Diseases are a natural part of ecological systems and therefore in the past, disease has often been overlooked as a potential agent of population decline that could threaten species.

However, as we continue to adversely alter our natural environment and change its ecological balance – we are now recognising that our health, as well as the health of other animal species, is affected by the disruption of natural ecosystems and global biodiversity loss.

The field of Conservation Medicine, which integrates veterinary medicine, conservation biology and public health, was established in response to increasing concerns about the adverse effects of human-induced environmental change on human and animal health and to increase evidence that disease can play an important role in driving population decline and potentially extinction of wildlife species.

By building conservation medicine skills in veterinarians in both developed and developing countries, through providing training and knowledge, the Murdoch University Conservation Medicine Program helps veterinarians to contribute to the development and implementation of effective wildlife conservation policy and practice.

We have veterinarians enrolled in our postgraduate programs from around the world and they are actively undertaking field work that will contribute to biodiversity conservation in their own countries.

In our own backyard in the southwest of WA, a region recognised globally as a biodiversity hotspot, we have worked collaboratively with the Department of Environment and Conservation, Perth Zoo, Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and the Black Cockatoo Rehabilitation Centre, and have postgraduate students involved in a range of research projects that involve monitoring the health of endangered Western Australian species.

Beyond training veterinary researchers, studying diseases in wildlife populations, the Conservation Medicine Program aims to train veterinarians in private practice to enable them to effectively work with Landcare and other community-based conservation groups, to build public awareness of the critical importance of biodiversity conservation for the health of the planet.”

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