WMC Conservation Newsletter Summer 2018- Student Spotlight

Student Conservation Spotlight: Kathleen Rafferty and her last straw

Kathleen attending to an injured osprey in the Wildlife Medical Clinic

At the beginning of this year, after learning that Americans use 500 million straws per day, Kathleen and a few friends made the decision to be environmentally conscious and reduce their plastic consumption by avoiding single-use plastic straws and switching to reusable stainless-steel straws. As it turned out, interest among her peers was high, and Kathleen distributed about 60 SS straws. With the average person using 1.6 straws per day, that equals over 35,000 straws saved per year or 81 pounds of plastic per year.

After seeing first-hand the effects of excessive plastic use while scuba diving in Florida, Kathleen became interested in conservation at a young age. She found Inspiration in the documentary Sharkwater by the late filmmaker and shark conservationist Rob Stewart where she learned that humans are responsible for the destruction of 99% of some shark species populations. Kathleen plans to use her DVM to contribute to the One Health initiative and wildlife conservation. “Which may include learning more about the harmful effects of plastic and human affiliated toxins in the environment,” says Kathleen, “At the end of the day, pollution not only negatively impacts our wildlife, but our human health as well.” –Know a student who incorporates conservation into their everyday lives? Let us know who they are, and they could be in our Student Conservation Spotlight.

Continue reading: WMC_newsletter_may2018

Kate Keets VM2021

WMC Conservation Chair

WMC Conservation Newsletter Summer 2018- World Conservation

Marine Life vs. Plastic

The photographer freed this stork from a plastic bag
at a landfill in Spain. By JOHN CANCALOSI

“The really sad thing about this is that they’re eating plastic thinking it’s food,” says a marine biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration named Mathew Savoca, of seabirds and marine animals. For example, flesh-footed shearwaters are seabirds that nest near Australia and New Zealand. Researchers have found that they “Consume more plastic as a proportion of their body mass than any other marine animal.” As a result, these animals expend precious energy searching for food, often only to return with more plastic for their young. According to Savoca, “Single-use plastics are the worst. Period. Bar none,” such as straws, water bottles, and plastic bags. To date, nearly 700 species of marine animals have been reported to have eaten or become entangled in plastic. To read the original article and others about the environmental effects of plastic, check out the June 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Continue reading: WMC_newsletter_may2018

Kate Keets VM2021

WMC Conservation Chair