Capacity Building in the Field

Capacity Building in the Field Photo
Stephane Ostrowski (right) teaching WCS field biologists resuscitation techniques on an anesthetized wild Asiatic cheetah, Bafgh protected area, Yazd province, Islamic Republic of Iran.
©Sepidah Kashani

Local wildlife professionals must be well equipped with the latest conservation knowledge and tools to preserve their wild heritage. Across the globe, veterinarians and veterinary students have the dedication necessary to spearhead conservation efforts in their countries, but they sometimes lack the funds or professional development opportunities. To address such circumstances, WCS created the Wildlife Health Fund. Since 1999, the fund has aided students and veterinarians via grants to wildlife health projects, sponsorships to conservation meetings, memberships in professional associations, and hands-on training workshops in veterinary techniques specific to wildlife conservation.


  • Increase regional capacity to conserve wildlife and wild places
  • Provide future conservation leaders with wildlife health knowledge, experience, and professional opportunities
  • Bring the latest practices in wildlife medicine to veterinarians and conservation professionals abroad

What WCS is Doing

Thanks to the Wildlife Health Fund, up-and-coming veterinarians have designed and conducted field studies in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, India, Uganda, Hungary, and elsewhere. WCS has sponsored hundreds of new memberships to the Wildlife Disease Association and provides free electronic access to the Journal of Wildlife Diseases to anyone living in the world’s 120 lower income countries.

Other examples of WCS’s efforts include:

  • Training and technical support to a para-veterinary program in Wakhan, Afghanistan
  • Training Burmese veterinarians and biologists at the Yadabon Zoo in Mandalay, Myanmar to rehabilitate, and possibly release, endangered tortoises confiscated from the wildlife trade
  • Training in infectious disease surveillance among wild birds in Argentina
  • Supporting veterinarians for the Iguana Recovery Program on Grand Cayman Island
  • Training wildlife veterinarians and ornithologists in Indonesia
  • Training workshop in veterinary pathology in Russia
  • Developing veterinary protocols for the recovery of scarlet macaws in Guatemala
  • Teaching and training international and local university students and Belizean high school students about coral health at Glover’s Reef Research Training Center for Marine Research
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