Blog: Punta San Juan (Peru)

Beyond the Beach

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Some of the most important work we do for the animals and environment of the Punta San Juan reserve may not be seen by visitors and volunteers, but it is essential to protecting the habitat and its inhabitants. We help to educate and train the next generation of conservationists.

Classrooms are great for learning how to be an excellent veterinarian, but there isn’t a classroom in the world that can prepare a new vet for working in the field where wild animals, weather, and less than ideal conditions exist. Chicago Zoological Society’s amazing staff help mentor veterinarians in learning the ropes and expanding their knowledge of marine wildlife living in the Punta San Juan Reserve.

For years we have been investigating penguin eye health in a zoological setting. Over the past seven years we have been able to expand that research to include penguins we encounter while working in the field. A former Chicago Zoological Society veterinary student, Dr. Julie Sheldon, was involved in this work while completing a clinical rotation at Brookfield Zoo. This work expanded into a comparative analysis on normal ocular health in wild penguins that has been published by the peer reviewed Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery.   

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Peruvian Veterinary student Fernando Vilchez Delgado, under the mentorship of Punta San Juan Program Director, Susana C├írdenas, will present his research on adult female reproductive function in South American fur seals of the Peruvian subpopulation at the 33rd World Veterinary Conference in Incheon, Korea. The information gathered from his study will aid researchers and veterinarians better understanding the reproductive tissues of older fur seals. 

Veterinary and biology students are extremely important to the Punta San Juan Program, but they aren’t the only conservationists we teach. The community members in Marcona are essential to protecting their local environment. Susana C├írdenas and other staff and volunteers in the program participated in an afternoon event for children at the Marcona main square. The program mascot Pepe penguin and our team raised awareness of the effects of marine pollutants in local wildlife. These community programs help local residents understand the impact personal plastic use has on the environment.

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Educating and training future generations of biologists, zoologists, veterinarians, and conservationists will ensure that the mission of the Punta San Juan Program will protect the animals and environment in the Punta San Juan Reserve for years to come.
 

Posted: 6/26/2017 11:56:15 AM by Oksana Schak | with 0 comments


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