Drs. Charlotte Cournoyer and Laura Kellow recently joined the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife as interns in wildlife and conservation medicine. Her one-year veterinary internship began on July 1st.
Cournoyer is originally from Barrington, Rhode Island and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Skidmore College. She received her PhD from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine with a certificate in aquatic animal health.
Prior to joining CROW, Cournoyer completed a rotating small animal internship at Angell Medical Center in Boston, where he worked in the exotic bird department. She also helped with emergencies for small animals, including a variety of exotic pets. During her studies and veterinary school, Cournoyer completed internships and internships in wildlife rehabilitation facilities such as the Marine Mammal Center, California Wildlife Center and the Animal Rescue Clinic at Mystic Aquarium, where Cournoyer gained experience working with various marine, mammal and bird species .
“I’ve always had an affinity for wildlife. As a child I played in the shallow tidal pools in front of my house, fascinated by the creatures I found there – mainly crabs, hermit crabs, starfish, small fish, jellyfish. “ She said. “Pollution, poaching, encroachment on habitats, global warming – the challenges facing wildlife are endless. A disturbance in an ecosystem can upset the entire equilibrium. The most exciting thing in nature is the unexpected sighting of a wild animal. I want to make sure that our future includes this natural wonder. “
Kellow grew up in Sydney, Australia before attending Colorado State University and graduating with honors in Biomedicine. She received her PhD from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University. Kellow spent the last year completing a Veterinary Masters degree in Conservation from Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, which she graduated with honors.
“When I was walking home from school as a kid, I found a dead possum on the sidewalk that had just fallen off a power cord.” She said. “When I just found out about possum bags in kindergarten, I asked my father to look inside to make sure she wasn’t having babies. Fortunately, my dad is a good sport and examined the pouch to find two opossum joeys in it. To my mother’s horror, I wrapped the joeys in my school sweater to keep them warm, and we drove the joeys to a wildlife clinic near us. The rehab was so nice and allowed us to watch her sort them and match them with other joeys. I will never forget the joy I felt in stopping to help when everyone else went by and the ability to give voice to such fragile animals. “
During her undergraduate studies, Kellow volunteered at the Wildlife Rescue Center and interned at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, Missouri. In veterinary school, she did an internship at the Saint Louis Zoo, Blank Park Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, a rotating internship at VCA Alameda East in Denver, and worked in Guatemala’s only wildlife center, ARCAS, with wildlife rescued from illegal smuggling operations.
The internship at CROW revolves around the “One world, one health” Concept and designed for doctoral veterinarians who want to gain experience in dealing with wild animals. In addition to clinical assignments, interns take part in research and conservation projects, give case and journal club rounds, and help teach students, staff, and volunteers.
“This internship has already given me a lot more confidence in the medical and surgical management of wildlife.” Cournoyer said. “I hope to continue growing in this area so that I can make a meaningful contribution to environmental protection through clinical and field veterinary work and research. I am looking forward to growing in my research experience so that I can advance the growing field of wildlife protection medicine and the one-health initiative. “
“So far at CROW I have particularly enjoyed working with the gopher tortoises, they have such individual personalities and attitudes.” said Kellow. “CROW has a significant caseload, and my medical and surgical skills in wildlife and exotic species have already improved exponentially. I had surgery here on my second day to remove a fish hook who knows what’s left in stock. My ultimate goal is to be able to practice clinical veterinary medicine in an AZA accredited zoological facility and to be involved in both local and international efforts to protect native fauna and flora. “
More information about the program can be found at www.CROWclinic.org/articles/student-programs.