HALI Project Update, Summer 2008

It’s been an exciting summer for the HALI Project, both in the US and in Tanzania.  In late July and early August, HALI was proud to host the developing country session of the Envirovet Summer Institute, a program providing seven weeks of intensive lecture, laboratory, and field experience to veterinarians (http://www.cvm.uiuc.edu/envirovet/).

The Envirovet Summer Institute is devoted to training veterinarians, veterinary students and wildlife researchers in the techniques, challenges and applications of ecosystem health.  This broad topic brings together wildlife, domestic animal, human and environmental health, attracting enthusiastic participants from around the world. This year, students spent 4 weeks training in the United States emphasizing ecosystem health in the developed world before traveling to Tanzania (HALI’s home base!) to focus on issues and skills for developing nations.

We can’t wait to get some photos up on the blog from the course (there’s a taste from some of our students below).  We had the unique opportunity to immoblize a giraffe, and to learn from the immense experience of the Tanzanian National Park’s veterinary and ecology staff, as well as faculty from the Sokoine University of Agriculture.

Envirovet Participants conducting water sampling activities

A water buffalo carcass that HALI team members were requested to perform a necropsy (autopsy) upon. HALI is working with wildlife managers in the Ruaha ecosystem to test wildlife for diseases that can be shared between domestic animals, wildlife and people.

The necropsy (of the buffalo carcass above) in action.

Later in August, HALI held a series of village level workshops culminating from two years of research into the socio-economics of our project villages.  The workshops were a great success with around 95% of invitees attending, and concluding with a ranking exercise of potential intervention activities to improve overall village livelihoods.   Results from the workshops will be featured in future HALI publications, as the analysis is just now beginning, led by HALI Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Jon Erickson at the University of Vermont.

A series of HALI meetings was held following the workshops at Ruaha University College in Iringa, Tanzania, where results from several ongoing studies (water, livestock sampling, wildlife sampling, etc.) were shared with our project partners and team leaders. It was great to get everybody together and to discuss the future path of HALI as the project moves from a more research oriented focus to intervention activities.

We are sad to say goodbye to a fellow Co-PI, Dr. Peter Copolillo, founder of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Ruaha Landscape Program, but happy to welcome him back to the USA as Director of the WCS Yellowstone Program.  HALI is also happy to welcome a new graduate student from the US, David Wolking, who will begin his study on diarrhea in neonatal livestock this fall.

As usual, Project Field Cordinator Dr. Harrison Sadiki is keeping busy, both as a participant in Envirovet, and key HALI team leader.  Dr. Sadiki will be traveling to the US to participate in a conference on wildlife management in Estes Park, Colorado this September, and we are looking forward to welcoming him to the US for the first time.  Here’s a video of Dr. Sadiki at his best…in the field taking a blood sample from a cow in a Masai herd to test for neospora, a deadly protozoal pathogen that can infect domestic livestock:

We are excited to start blogging and sharing more of HALI with our public, and welcome any comments and email on project activities.

The HALI Team.

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2 thoughts on “HALI Project Update, Summer 2008

  1. Although P.I.’s, Jonna Mazet and Deana Clifford, have generously shared their experiences, it is also rewarding to read and see the activities in print and video. I have provided administrative support to this project for two years.

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