Click on the dates below to read about the field work in Punta San Juan and how zoo veterinarians play an important role in conservation efforts of wildlife in their natural habitats.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009

Field Journal from Punta San Juan, Peru

Field Journal Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hola! Welcome to Peru! As I type the first entry to this new journal, I’m sitting in the backseat of a truck traveling south along the beautiful Peruvian coastline and heading back to Punta San Juan. This will be my fifth trip to Punta San Juan (or PSJ as we call it) in the past few years to do health assessment and conservation fieldwork with the wildlife populations. Our previous work has focused on the health of Humboldt penguins at PSJ, but we are expanding the scope of our work this year to also study South American fur seals. I’ll be keeping this journal during the trip so you can share this new and exciting project with us and see how zoo veterinarians can play an important role in conservation efforts of wildlife in their natural habitats.

We’ll be spending about a week at PSJ working on a project supported by the Chicago Zoological Society and Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute. Our work will characterize the current health of the fur seal population at PSJ and begin to understand what threatens the population including disease, environmental contamination, and other health related concerns. As our week progresses, I’ll give you more information on some of these concerns and what efforts are being taken to protect the wildlife at PSJ.

I’m joined on this trip by Dr. Gwen Jankowski, a veterinary resident at Brookfield Zoo, and several of our Peruvian colleagues from Cayetano Heredia University in Lima, Peru. Dr. Patricia Majluf is the director of the Center for Environmental Sustainability at Cayetano and is the main collaborator on all our field projects at PSJ. Patricia is an amazing person who completed her PhD studying fur seals at PSJ nearly 23 years ago and is an expert on the species. Patricia will be joining us in the field to catch the fur seals and I’m very excited to have her along. Patricia’s confidence and the fact she has done it safely hundreds of times is comforting reassurance to a young crew of field biologists that will take on the task tomorrow.

Mike Adkesson, DVM, DACZM
Veterinarian – Chicago Zoological Society

Tuesday, December 8, 2009