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Battling Wildlife Pandemics

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Battling Wildlife Pandemics

Evening Program

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1J0069
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.

Amid our own global pandemic, certain wildlife also face an unprecedented conservation crisis. Smithsonian scientists are working to take animal populations devastated by pandemics and epidemics into captivity in order to protect, study, breed, and reintroduce them into the wild.

The Tasmanian devil faces extinction due to multiple reasons: the emergence of a contagious cancer called devil facial tumor disease and the resulting risk of inbreeding depression, a condition that weakens a species’ ability to survive and pass on its genetic material effectively. Rebecca Gooley, a post-doctoral research fellow through the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), provides an overview of her work focused on these threats.

Amphibians (frogs, toads, salamanders, and caecilians) are declining in part to a novel pathogen, the amphibian chytrid fungus, and dozens of species now rely on being held in captivity to stave off extinction. Luke Linhoff, a post-doctoral research fellow in SCBI’s Center for Species Survival, examines new research performed at the National Zoo and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute that provides insights into how we can better protect amphibian species from the chytrid pandemic both in the U.S. and globally.

Gooley and Linhoff also discuss the crossover between their various reintroduction efforts and draw on the latest National Zoo research that documents the struggles and successes in eradicating wildlife pandemics.

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