Dr Becki Lawson's Story
Dr Becki Lawson, a Wildlife Veterinarian working at The Institute of Zoology, travelled to the USA in 2012 to visit centres of excellence for wildlife disease investigation and epidemiological research.
Becki visited Cornell University, Princeton University, the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, the University of Wisconsin and The National Wildlife Health Center in Madison. Becki was able to gain experience of the multidisciplinary nature of wildlife disease investigation, ranging from protocols for field investigation of wildlife mortality incidents, pathological examinations and laboratory diagnostic techniques, to various data recording formats used to capture wildlife disease investigation and surveillance data. This varied practical experience was combined with a series of seminars and conferences.
Becki works with a team of scientists at the Institute of Zoology, and with partners at the British Trust for Ornithology, Froglife and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, to co-ordinate the Garden Wildlife Health project. This is a citizen science project to investigate the health of garden wildlife species across Great Britain, which launched in 2014. Members of the public can help by reporting observations of sick or dead garden wildlife via the project website. The findings are disseminated to the scientific and conservation communities through peer-reviewed publications. Information is also provided to the British public on the common diseases affecting garden wildlife, including methods for their prevention and control.The skills and experience that Becki gained through her Fellowship are directly relevant to her current role which hopes to benefit the conservation of British wildlife species and also to encourage the British public to observe and value native species.