Established in 1983, the Tufts Wildlife Clinic at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine provides medical care for orphaned, sick, and injured New England wildlife. Individual animals are brought to the clinic by concerned citizens, local wildlife rehabilitators, and regional, state, and federal fish and wildlife agencies.
Established in 1983, the Tufts Wildlife Clinic at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine provides medical care for orphaned, sick, and injured New England wildlife. Individual animals are brought to the clinic by concerned citizens, local wildlife rehabilitators, and regional, state, and federal fish and wildlife agencies. Approximately 2,000 wildlife patients are admitted each year, including animals that are designated as threatened or endangered species, with the ultimate goal of release back into their native habitat. The clinic is housed in the Bernice Barbour Wildlife Medicine Building, with state of the art animal care and medical facilities. Working in a clinic specifically designed for wildlife care enables participants to provide optimal treatment for all patients.
The practice of wildlife medicine requires clinicians and students to apply knowledge gained from a solid foundation in domestic animal medicine to a diversity of wildlife species. These include a wide variety of native amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Students gain experience in handling and restraint, diagnostic and therapeutic techniques, and making decisions about case management. Tufts Wildlife Clinic educates two groups of veterinary students. For those students who wish to make their careers in wildlife, zoo or environmental fields, the clinic provides a wide range of core courses, elective courses, rotation experiences and opportunities to work in their chosen wildlife field. But even for those students not interested in those careers, the core education insures that all Cummings School graduates are exposed to the basics of wildlife medicine and are aware of the larger environmental issues that surround the animals in their care. This enables these graduates to act as knowledgeable resources in wildlife medicine for their communities. In addition to educating students and practicing veterinarians about wildlife-related issues, Tufts Wildlife Clinic also works to educate non-veterinary audiences, wildlife biologists, wildlife rehabilitators, educators, and policy makers about wildlife and conservation issues and the roles that veterinary medicine can play in responsible conservation. Tufts Wildlife Clinic faculty and staff regularly lecture and provide consultation services for these varied groups.
Wildlife species often act as important sentinels of ecosystem health. The clinic plays an important role in monitoring and spearheading policy concerning public health:
The combined efforts of teaching, outreach and research activities are all important components of the Wildlife Medicine Program. Students have a unique opportunity to participate in any of these activities as part of their veterinary school curriculum. Upon graduation, all students should understand the importance of healthy wildlife populations, serve as responsible sources of wildlife-related information for their communities, and be able to balance the often conflicting needs of wildlife, domestic animals and humans.