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Cornell University

About Us

Who We Are

The Cornell Wildlife Health Center represents an unprecedented approach to the health challenges wild animals face here in the northeast U.S. and around the world – a comprehensive, science-based response by a team of the world's top wildlife health experts.

Our Vision

A healthy future for wildlife, people, and planet.

Our Mission

We strive to develop proactive, science-based approaches for sustaining a healthier world. By improving knowledge, understanding, and capacity at the interface of wildlife health, domestic animal health, and human health and livelihoods, environmental stewardship can be enhanced today, and for tomorrow.

Elephant and baby in the wild
© Mark Atkinson

Our Approach

Humanity has brought changes to Earth’s natural systems at a pace and scale that are difficult to overstate – our domination of land and sea has no precedent. If we are to successfully address the challenges of saving wildlife in an increasingly human dominated planet, with species extinctions now one thousand times faster than before our rise, we must recognize that our own health, and that of the global economy, are inextricably linked to our stewardship of the natural world.

With an emphasis on the types of interdisciplinary collaboration required to foster real progress along the science to policy and action continuum, the Cornell Wildlife Health Center has grown out of a sense of genuine urgency regarding the fate of our planet's wildlife, an increasing understanding of our own dependence on Earth’s natural systems, and the recognition that it will take a new generation of leaders to halt and reverse the trends we face.

Black bear surrounded my foliage

Our Priorities

  • Conducting cross-cutting applied research

  • Developing innovative conservation strategies
  • Impacting policy and conservation action
  • Building local capacity
  • Training the next generation of leaders

Our Recipe for Success

Work with the People Living Closest to Wildlife

Local community outreach and engagement are critical for conservation success – from the forests of the Adirondacks to the plains of southern Africa to the jungles of Asia. Cornell can be there, learning from local experience and knowledge, training local scientists and managers, working with communities, and at the same time immersing intellectually curious (and adventurous!) students in a living laboratory.

Person in scrubs holding a stethescope to the chest of a porcupine.

Move Solid Science into Policy and Action

Our approach to policy and action requires science-based decision-support. We organize interactive planning meetings with multi-lateral agencies, governments, and local communities to inform land- and ocean-use planning, environmental conservation, and public health policy. We patiently develop communications materials relevant to the local context, reach-out to decision-makers, and help governments grappling with challenging trade-offs, particularly in the developing world.

Recognize that Experiential Learning Changes Lives

Through faculty mentorship, students gain first-hand experience, helping them prepare for life-changing careers in conservation and development. Students learn first-hand that optimizing the use of natural resources today offers hope for tomorrow.

Anesthetized jaguar lies on an exam table with IVs and intubation while a vet student listens to its heartbeat with a stethoscope.