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The lifesaving work of veterinarians around the world protects species on the brink of extinction, saves animals during disasters, and keeps families together and communities thriving. At IFAW, our veterinarians have dedicated their lives to protecting and caring for the most vulnerable animals in need. Here we’re shining a spotlight on the work of a few of our incredible veterinarians.
When disasters strike, our veterinarians are there not only to treat impacted animals, but also to comfort individuals that are suffering—whether they’re animals or people.
After war broke out in Ukraine, Dr. Veronika Herasymenko joined IFAW at the Polish border to aid fellow Ukrainians refugees fleeing the war with their pets. She supported the Polish veterinary team with health checks, vaccinations, microchipping, passing out food and supplies, and arranging official documentation for refugees to enter Poland with their pets. In just four months, she and other veterinarians treated over 3,000 animals.
Veronika currently lives and works in the Lviv region in Ukraine, visiting shelters and abandoned villages to provide veterinary care to animals in need. “I am very satisfied, very happy that I can be useful to my fellow Ukrainians and to help them in such a hard time,” she says.
Besides caring for live stranded marine mammals, a key component to the work of Dr. Sarah Sharp, the veterinarian for IFAW’s Marine Mammal Rescue and Research program on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is performing necropsies on dead animals to collect valuable data. She likens her team to “the CSI of the marine mammal world.”
“We’re looking for clues to investigate these causes of death,” she says. “We want to take the data that we collect on the ground and then put that into policies and programs that can make a big difference to protect the animals that are still alive.”
At IFAW’s Beijing Raptor Rescue Center, which rescues and rehabilitates sick and injured birds of prey, Zhisai (Lisa) Li treats rescued raptors daily, reducing their pain, and rehabilitating them to the point that they can be released back to the wild.
“The moments I enjoy the most are when raptors spread their wings and fly into the sky. It shows that our efforts are not in vain. Now they can be back home just like us,” she says.
Over the past 20 years, Lisa and her team have demonstrated the highest standards of care for the more than 5,700 birds that the center has taken in from all over Beijing.
In Australia, our IFAW-sponsored veterinary teams provide crucial, life-saving care to native wildlife.
At Bonorong Wildlife Hospital in Tasmania, the IFAW-supported vet team provides expert care and assistance to a variety of animal species and, as the roadkill capital of the world, this incredible team has their work cut out for them.
In New South Wales, IFAW sponsors the Friends of the Koala vet team, which provides critical care for injured, sick, and orphaned koalas, helping to return them to health and, eventually, back to the wild where they belong.
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