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ZPP faculty member Dr. Karen Terio was part of an international research team that discovered the first clear example of how climate extremes can create conditions in which diseases that are normally tolerated singly may converge and bring about mass die-offs in wildlife. Outbreaks of canine distemper virus in lions in the Serengeti do not usually bring high mortality rates. However, the outbreaks in 1994 and 2001 were preceded by extreme drought conditions, which led to debilitated populations of Cape buffalo, the lion's prey. Read more.

Zoological Pathology Program

The Zoological Pathology Program (ZPP) is committed to advancing wildlife conservation through the study of wildlife disease.

Based in Chicago, the ZPP is a unique collaboration between the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and a number of private and public entities. The program was started in 1993 with the goal of improving animal health by providing comprehensive diagnostic services to three Chicago institutions: Brookfield Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, and Shedd Aquarium.

Today the program serves these core institutions and a great many more, from federal wildlife agencies to zoos and conservation organizations on three continents. The program has earned an international reputation for excellence in diagnostic service, education of residents and veterinary students, contribution to worldwide conservation efforts, and original scholarship.

ZPP contributes to wildlife conservation and ecosystem health through the study of wildlife disease.  Sound diagnostics, education and research directly promote the health and welfare of zoological collections and free-ranging wildlife. By investigating how disease impacts individual animals and populations,threats can be mitigated or better managed.  Additionally, knowledge of wildlife diseases can have profound implications for understanding similar diseases in domestic animals and even humans.

Conservation of species and ecosystems requires a multifaceted collaborative approach, and ZPP has numerous national and international collaborators. ZPP faculty have also taught in international training courses to improve local capacity for on-site disease monitoring.

Moreover, ZPP serves as an interface and link between zoological institutions, wildlife parks, veterinary and human medical fields, and the private sector.