Skip to main content

Cornell University

Blogs from the Field

A healthy future for wildlife, people, and planet.

Nurdles-plastic gravel by Barbara Agnew

One word: nurdles. Nurdles are plastic pellets, approximately the size and shape of lentils or split peas. Nurdles are manufactured, and then shipped to companies across the planet to be made into other things — other plastic things....
Mariacamila Garcia Estrella shown in the field with another vet examining a young buffalo

A few weeks ago I learned about trypanosome parasites in parasitology class. As the professor explained what diseases these parasites cause, one species of trypanosome in particular stood out to me, Trypanosoma evansi. T. evansi is transmitted by tabanid flies and is found throughout Africa, Asia and tropical America, and it causes a disease called surra in all domestic species.
Amir Sadaula collecting blood from an immobilized rhino.

As I write this in summer 2020, it is almost six months since the first reports that a mysterious new pathogen was emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Given the pandemic that ensued, few of us remain unaware of the omnipotent reach of wildlife-origin microbes to disrupt our health, our economies and our liberty....
Salmon net pens

Mostly stuck at home like the rest of you, I cannot get the constant talk about testing and tracing out of my head during this COVID-19 pandemic. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s voice is ever present, and I welcome his daily, even-tempered and pragmatic broadcasts about how to keep us safe. Given my line of work, I easily saw some analogies, and I said to my work-at-home spouse on one of our daily walks, “Fish farmers have to deal with epidemics, too.”
Hawai'ian Apapane bird with mosquito in eye

Vector-borne infectious diseases pose substantial threats to human health and the conservation of wildlife. Avian malaria in Hawai‘i provides an example of the devastation caused by the emergence and spread of such diseases within susceptible host populations.
Hand holding up globe

We drafted The Manhattan Principles on 'One World, One Health' in 2004. In 2020, let’s act as if we truly comprehend the pandemic’s stark reminder that there really is only one world, and one health. May Earth Days to come be better for it.
Earth with face mask

I have spent my career trying to think of ways to enhance my own species’ respect and concern for the rest of life on Earth. Perhaps a tiny, invisible virus will be what actually (hopefully) tips the scales towards a critical mass of global understanding of the fact that our own health is intimately tied to how we treat the natural world…. It’s not too soon to make this a “never again” moment. The very good news is that we can, and we must.
A Double-Crested Cormorant seen perched in a tree

The news is depressing. A recently released article in Science by my colleagues at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology shows that 3 billion birds have vanished in the lasts 50 years….
Elephant and baby in the wild

At our recent meeting in Maun, Botswana, an unprecedented reimagination of rangeland stewardship gained genuine traction, an approach that could resolve land-use conflicts that have plagued the nation and the region for more than half a century....
Entrance to “Panda Valley” in Dujiangyan, one of the research sites we frequently visited

Two years ago, nearly to the day, I sat across from Dr. Marc Valitutto in a conference room at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia....