AHEAD Update – July / August / September 2012

Dear AHEAD Colleagues:

*Welcome to the third AHEAD Update of 2012. Please note that URL hotlinks for many of the organizations mentioned below can be found at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/links.html. If you would like to post an item in the next AHEAD Update, please just send it to us- thanks. News on potential job opportunities appears towards the end of this Update.


Which Way, Veterinary Medicine? On the Future of Food, Livelihoods, Wild Nature, and Public Health

As a profession, veterinary medicine recently crossed its 250th anniversary. For those of us who take great pride in serving this discipline honorably, some self-assessment is probably overdue. Many of us have observed and actively participated in what can be safely described as a transformation during the span of our careers. Veterinary medicine is clearly about more than controlling animal diseases. Humanity faces extraordinary and sometimes competing challenges, including but not limited to feeding the world's poor, ensuring sufficient and safe supplies of food and water, diagnosing and managing disease, enhancing the efficiency of livestock agriculture, improving animal welfare, mitigating global climate change (which of course has many links back to agricultural practices), enhancing public health, fostering opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, and promoting an earnest global stewardship of wild nature and the biodiversity we all ultimately depend on.

Let's focus on a subset of these issues of particular relevance in the AHEAD context. Robust environmental stewardship, feeding the world's ever-growing human population and enhancing opportunities for sustainable livelihoods are challenges that all clearly require innovative and integrated policy approaches involving a range of stakeholders from, for example, the fields of biodiversity conservation, landscape ecology, resource economics, plant and animal health and production, public health, food security, food safety, human capacity development, human rights and governance at a range of scales. The question for today's veterinarians is whether we are comfortable continuing to progress beyond a focus on controlling animal diseases to careers aimed at promoting health in its broadest sense, proactively working in a One Health landscape in which it is no longer acceptable for animal disease control measures to trample on the environment or on aspirations for improved livelihoods. The veterinary profession can either offer enlightened leadership, or be overtaken by inevitable changes in market dynamics, consumer expectations, regulatory needs and international policy norms in an increasingly 'flat' world.

As we've pointed out previously, the need for adjusting approaches to production animal disease control in southern Africa is underlined by the fact that old measures are becoming less effective and more costly year by year. At the same time, alternative animal disease management and sanitary trade standards are available that could potentially strengthen the control of diseases of trade concern such as foot and mouth (FMD), promote more effective access to markets for those currently left behind, and lessen the unfortunate environmental impacts on free-ranging wildlife that accompany the present geographic-based approach. Adoption of non-geographic standards would facilitate more balanced rural development portfolios, vital for alleviation of pervasive rural poverty and environmental degradation- both widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. It's noteworthy that the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) already provides guidance in terms of the acceptability of commodity-based trade of beef from FMD-infected countries or zones. Commodity-based trade, involving safe and stringent processing of animal-derived products, increases biological safety (in terms of animal disease as well as food safety) and options for value addition: such a science-based process also requires sound veterinary input.

If departments of veterinary services could lead by example and work to shift their image from controllers to enablers, from technocrats to innovators working in a multidisciplinary environment to optimize outcomes for the populations being served, that could truly rejuvenate the status of the profession as a whole. We feel it is time for veterinarians in governmental, multilateral and nongovernmental service as well as in academia and private and corporate practice to seize such opportunities. Veterinarians must expand their collaborations with conservation biologists, human health and development professionals, livestock producers and those working across the entire value chain- to inform policy development that will reinforce the idea that the expanding interface between livestock, wildlife and people is viewed by our profession not as a threat to be met with intransigent, "that's the way we've always done it" thinking, but as a challenge to be met with creativity, empathy and sound science. Which way, veterinary medicine?


*New Book- Ecohealth Research in Practice: Innovative Applications of an Ecosystem Approach to Health, 2012, Charron, DF (Ed.), IDRC, Springer, 282 pp. – Two decades after the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio, the world is still facing a profound need for development to alleviate poverty and improve human lives through more equitable access to resources and healthier environments. Understanding that human health depends on quality ecosystems, researchers are cutting a new path toward a more sustainable future. An ecosystem approach to health, integrating research and practice from such fields as environmental management, public health, biodiversity, and economic development, is based on an understanding that people are part of complex socio-ecological systems. Featuring case studies from around the world, Ecohealth Research in Practice demonstrates innovative practices in agriculture, natural resource management, community building, and disease prevention, reflecting the state of the art in research, application, and policymaking in the field. The book demonstrates how ecohealth research works and how it has led to lasting changes for the betterment of peoples' lives and the ecosystems that support them. For more information, see http://www.springer.com/medicine/book/978-1-4614-0516-0.

*Reviewers sought for the HALI Wildlife Health Handbook: Recognizing, Investigating, and Reporting Diseases of Concern for Wildlife Conservation and Human Health - A Guide for Protected Area Rangers, Scouts, and Staff – In 2011, the Health for Animals and Livelihood Improvement (HALI) Project released a handbook to improve training of protected area rangers, game scouts, and park staff in the safe recognition, investigation, reporting, and response to disease events that may impact the conservation of wildlife and threaten human health. The Wildlife Health Handbook, now available in Kiswahili, was adapted from a 2-day short course for park rangers and game scouts developed by HALI and veterinarians and ecologists from Ruaha National Park in Tanzania. As a follow-up to the course and handbook, HALI is conducting a survey to solicit feedback on the utility of the handbook and training model for improving biosafety and conservation medicine outcomes. If you are interested in reviewing the Wildlife Health Handbook for potential future use, or if you have referenced or used the handbook in training programs, workshops or other events and would be interested in participating in the survey, please contact the authors Dr. Deana Clifford (dlclifford@ucdavis.edu) and David Wolking (djwolk@gmail.com). The English and Kiswahili versions of the Wildlife Health Handbook are freely downloadable as PDFs on the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center website: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/whc/programs/hali.cfm.

*New AHEAD resources available in Portuguese. AHEAD Kavango Zambezi primer: Para Alem Fronteira: Opções de Política para a Biodiversidade, Meios de Subsistência e Gestão de Doenças Transfronteiriças dos Animais na África Australdownloadable in PDF from http://www.wcs-ahead.org. In addition, a Portuguese map of the KAZA TFCA can be downloaded at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/kaza/kaza_map.html.

*New AHEAD report: Analysis of the Status of Transboundary Animal Diseases and their Control in the SADC Region During the Period 2005-2011, Focusing on the Five Countries that Contribute Land to the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA), 2012, Penrith, M-L & Thomson, G, 75 pp.– Using information gathering in the public domain, this analysis was undertaken to determine the status of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) in the KAZA TFCA member countries and their neighbors. Diseases were selected based on their potential for transboundary spread, relevance for international trade / livelihoods / rural development, zoonotic potential, the presence of a wildlife reservoir host, and their potential to impact wildlife health and biodiversity conservation, directly or indirectly. The survey confirmed that the information available in the public domain remains incomplete for most of the important diseases in the region. However, the report does provide a very useful overview of major disease events and also suggests that some of the control measures in place may be inadequate. See http://www.wcs-ahead.org/workinggrps_kaza.html for a downloadable PDF. In addition, all references used in the report are now available through the open-access Zotero library. See below for more details.

*AHEAD Online Library expandedAHEAD’s free open-source online digital Zotero library (http://www.zotero.org), containing materials on policy and legislation related to animal health, disease and conservation in the southern Africa region, with subsections dedicated to fencing, control of transboundary animal diseases, and climate change, includes more than 1400 relevant scientific reports, legislative and policy documents, occasional papers and reviews. In addition, two new databases have recently been added:

     Conservation & Development Constraints Facing TFCAs – houses over 130 scientific reports and papers used to prepare a white paper examining constraints to conservation and development success at the wildlife-livestock-human interface in southern African TFCAs. The final report (Cumming, 2011) is also included, and in addition is downloadable as a PDF at

     TADs Status & Control – houses a selection of reports and papers used to conduct an assessment of the status of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) and their control in the SADC region, with a particular focus on the five KAZA TFCA member countries. The final report (Penrith & Thomson, 2012) is also included, and is also downloadable as a PDF at

For an e-invitation to any of the AHEAD Zotero databases (required for access), please contact Shirley Atkinson (satkinson@wcs.org) (also see


*The University of Edinburgh announces a new MVetSci / Diploma / Certificate in Conservation Medicine by online distance learning – At the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies we aim to provide a truly dynamic learning experience in this online part-time distance learning programme, leading to either a Certificate, Diploma or Masters in Conservation Medicine. The programme is designed to address the demand for online training in conservation medicine and provides in-depth training in a modular flexible format, ideal for veterinarians who wish to achieve a world-class award while maintaining busy professional and personal commitments. The programme is delivered by recognised experts and benefits from the strong links with the Exotic Animal and Wildlife Unit within the R(D)SVS. A blend of online learning methods are utilised such as discussion forums, podcasts and live tutorials to create a dynamic and collaborative learning experience. You will become part of an online community bringing together students and tutors from all over the world. The programme is open to students with a qualification in veterinary medicine. Candidates with a relevant background and alternative qualifications may be considered and should contact us for further details. For further information contact:

Anna Meredith (Programme Director)
Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Easter Bush Campus
Edinburgh, EH25 9RG Scotland, UK
Website: www.ed.ac.uk/vet/conservation-medicine
Email: Conservation.Medicine@ed.ac.uk
ph: +44(0)131 650 8783 ; fax: +44(0)131 650 6588


*IVth International Wildlife Management Congress, Durban, South Africa, July 9-12, 2012 – The Wildlife Society (TWS) in partnership with the Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA), SANParks, and EZEMVELO KZN Wildlife will host the IVth International Wildlife Management Congress at the Durban International Convention Center, South Africa from July 9-12, 2012. This is the first time the Congress will be held in Africa. The first three Congresses were held in Costa Rica, Hungary, and New Zealand in 1993, 1996, and 2003 respectively. The overall theme of “Cooperative Wildlife Management Across Borders: Learning in the Face of Change” sets the scene for 11 separate sub-themes that will be covered in concurrent sessions over the four day Congress. Sub-themes include: Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management and Conservation; Trans-border Cooperation and Conservation; Climate Change; Wildlife Health and Disease; Wildlife Population Management; Professional Development and Training; Endangered Species Recovery; Invasive Species; Natural Resource Use and Sustainability; and Habitat Restoration, Modification and Stewardship. Please see www.iwmc2012.org for more details- the meeting is happening now!

*1st Biennial Disaster Risk Reduction Conference, Potchefstroom, South Africa, October 10-12, 2012 – The African Center for Disaster Studies (ACDS) at North-West University would like to welcome disaster reduction academics, researchers, practitioners and post-graduate students to the first biennial disaster risk reduction conference of the Southern Africa Society for Disaster Reduction. The conference will take place from 10 -12 October 2012 in the beautiful student town of Potchefstroom, North-West Province, South Africa. This inaugural conference has been convened to: celebrate ACDS’ first decade; provide a platform for the presentation, discussion and debate of different academic and professional approaches and research on disaster risk reduction issues; and establish and formally launch the new Southern Africa Society for Disaster Reduction. Conference themes include: Governance of Disaster Risk Reduction; Urban Dimensions of Risk; Water as Disaster Risk; Disaster Risk and Gender Issues; Climate Change Adaptation; Geo-spatial Applications for Disaster Risk Reduction; Risk Assessment and Early Warning; New Humanitarian Challenges; and Disaster Response and Recovery. For more information on registration, etc. please see http://acds.co.za/index.php?page=conf2012.


*Seeking Executive Programme Director, GreenMatter – a cause-driven initiative co-founded by the Lewis Foundation & the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) – GreenMatter seeks a dynamic leader who shares a passion for biodiversity, transformation and the development of biodiversity skills in South Africa. The Executive Director, to be based in Johannesburg, will lead a small, focused team and engage a diversity of role players in order to drive and grow a dynamic programme in collaboration with key sectoral partners. Demonstrable competency set includes, for example, excellent strategic relationship-building skills, decision-making at various levels of complexity, and ability to be an authoritative voice on Biodiversity and HCD matters. A postgraduate degree or equivalent qualification with minimum of 10 years’ management experience, 5 at senior/general management level is required. Salary will be commensurate with experience and qualifications. To apply, submit CV (up to 3 pages), cover letter and 3 professional referees to: lindy.r@global.co.za. Only short-listed candidates will be called to interview. For more details, please see http://www.greenmatter.co.za.

*Veterinarian: Cheetah Conservation Fund, Namibia – The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is currently looking for a clinical veterinarian to join its team at the research center in Otjiwarongo, Namibia. The successful candidate should have a degree in Veterinary Medicine, be qualified to work in Namibia (see detail below), be interested in livestock, dogs, horses and wildlife as well as research, and have good team working skills; Namibian resident preferred. The animal collection includes cheetahs, livestock guarding and scat detection dogs, dairy and meat goats, sheep, cattle, and horses. The CCF veterinary clinic is equipped with several microscopes, an isoflurane gas anesthesia machine, a Cardell monitor, an endoscope, ultrasound, digital radiography equipment, in-house blood chemistry analyzers, and a DanInject dart gun for immobilizations. The veterinarian will not only conduct clinical work but will also be part of the CCF research and outreach community. Preferably the applicant should be qualified to practice in Namibia in order to register with the Namibian Veterinary Council. Veterinary degrees from the following veterinary institutions are recognized in Namibia: Onderstepoort, Pretoria (South Africa), Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, London (UK), MRCVS degree granted on account of a veterinary degree (UK or Ireland), Berlin / Giessen / Hannover / Muenchen (Germany), University of Zuerich / University of Bern (Switzerland), multiple (Australia), Massey University, Manawatu (New Zealand). Veterinarians licensed to practice in South Africa via examination are also qualified to practice in Namibia. For further information, contact Dr. Laurie Marker, CCF Executive Director: cheetah@iway.na.

Again, if you have items for the next AHEAD Update, please just let us know – thanks.

"What is AHEAD?" Animal & Human Health for the Environment And Development was launched at the 2003 IUCN World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa. By assembling a ‘dream team’ of veterinarians, ecologists, biologists, social and economic scientists, agriculturists, wildlife managers, public health specialists and others from across East and southern Africa, the Wildlife Conservation Society, IUCN, and a range of partners tapped into some of the most innovative conservation and development thinking on the African continent- and AHEAD was born. Since then, a range of programs addressing conservation, health, and concomitant development challenges have been launched with the support of a growing list of implementing partners and donors who see the intrinsic value of what WCS has called the “One World, One Health” approach. AHEAD is a convening, facilitative mechanism, working to create enabling environments that allow different and often competing sectors to literally come to the same table and find collaborative ways forward to address challenges at the interface of wildlife health, livestock health, and human health and livelihoods. We convene stakeholders, help delineate conceptual frameworks to underpin planning, management and research, and provide technical support and resources for projects stakeholders identify as priorities. AHEAD recognizes the need to look at health and disease not in isolation but within a given region's environmental and socioeconomic context.

All the best,

Steve, Mark & Shirley