SANIBEL, Fla. (December 20, 2019) – Dr. Mariah Lancaster has joined the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildife (CROW) as its newest Wildlife and Conservation Medicine Intern. Her seven month long veterinary internship began on December 1.
Dr. Lancaster, who grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts, began her undergraduate career at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado before being accepted to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She spent a semester traveling the globe on Semester at Sea, to places such as Spain, Morroco, South Africa, Singapore and China, before returning to the University of Massachusetts Amherst to complete a degree in pre-veterinary medicine. She went on to earn her doctorate at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 2017.
“I had always loved wildlife, but while sitting in the student advisors office waiting to discuss my impending semester abroad, I picked up a National Geographic and read an article called "The Kingpin" by Bryan Christy, about the black market wildlife trade in Asia,” says Dr. Lancaster. “Reading the article, I felt my blood begin to boil. I realized I hadn't felt that passionate about anything I'd been doing in school for the past two years. I knew that if I didn't change my life and pursue a career in protecting wildlife, I would regret it forever, and I believed my best road to this was to pursue veterinary school.”
While still an undergraduate, Dr. Lancaster interned with Wingmasters, a raptor rehabilitator in Leverett, Massachusetts. Once in vet school, she completed a work-study program at the wildlife clinic and spent her summers doing international wildlife rehabilitation including a month at ARCAS Wildlife Rescue Center in Peten, Guatemala and three weeks on the island of Palawan in the Philippines rehabilitating endangered Philippine Forest Turtles, confiscated from poachers collecting them for the black market wildlife trade. Following vet school, she completed a small animal rotating internship at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in East Greenwich, Rhode Island and worked as an emergency relief veterinarian, pursuing opportunities such as volunteering with World Vets to do the annual veterinary care for Maya Key, a wildlife sanctuary in Roatan, Honduras.
“My goal is to pursue a career in international wildlife conservation policy, within the frame of One-Health Medicine -- combining environmental policy, human health, and animal health towards preserving our ecosystems and promoting sustainable development,” says Dr. Lancaster. “Human activity is the number one cause of admissions to wildlife hospitals and our pollution contributes to worsening red tide seasons and climate change. Since humans are the cause, humans must work to fix it - and it's up to our entire species to advocate for those unable to advocate for themselves.”
The Wildlife and Conservation Medicine Internship at CROW is centered around the ‘One World, One Health concept’ and designed for those who have completed their Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and are interested in gaining experience treating wildlife. In addition to clinical duties, interns participate in research and conservation projects, give case and journal club rounds, and help teach students, staff, and volunteers.
“This internship is building the foundation of my clinical wildlife experience,” says Dr. Lancaster. “Within just the first few weeks I have learned an enormous amount about wildlife triage and critical care, as well as rehabilitation and release. I am profoundly fortunate to be working with such an incredible staff and learning from world-class clinicians.”
If you would like to learn more about internships and externships offered at CROW, please visit www.CROWClinic.org/articles/student-programs.
About Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)
Established in 1968, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) is a teaching hospital saving the sick, injured and orphaned native and migratory wildlife of Southwest Florida and beyond. Through state-of-the-art veterinary care, public education programs and an engaging visitor center, CROW works to improve the health of the environment, humans and our animals through wildlife medicine. For more information, or to plan your visit, go to www.crowclinic.org. If you find an animal that is in need of help, call (239) 472-3644 ext. #222.