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In May 2015, I graduated with a Ph.D. in Veterinary Pathobiology as part of the Applied Biodiversity Science program—a National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (NSF-IGERT) initiative at Texas A&M University. I use quantitative and qualitative methodologies to investigate social and biological issues related to wildlife trade. For my dissertation titled Conservation Implications of Illegal Bird Trade and Disease Risk in Peru, I investigated: (1) the magnitude and composition of the Peru’s domestic pet-bird market and the influence of legal export quotas on the illegal native bird trade, (2) the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in combating illegal wildlife-pet trade, and (3) the consequences of a hypothetical introduction of an infectious pathogen into a susceptible population of wild parakeets and the influence of illegal harvest on disease dynamics.
I am a veterinarian with wildlife medicine and management experience in the U.S. and South America. I first became alarmed by illegal wildlife trade when I started as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Loja, Ecuador, in 1997. To combat the trade, I created an animal-welfare organization called the Fundación de Protección Animal (FPA) and ran FPA for almost 10 years. We used an integrated approach to improve local law enforcement and decrease domestic consumer demand for wild animal pets and wildlife products.
At SESYNC, I will collaborate with Karen Lips (University of Maryland) to investigate the risk of introducing infectious disease to native U.S. wildlife populations resulting from the importation of exotic and wild animals for the pet industry. I will compile and synthesize data from multiple sources on live-animal trade, infectious diseases, and current gaps in import regulations to determine how these variables interact to increase risk of introduced disease and, more importantly, how to best mitigate this risk to protect our native wildlife.
|The challenge and opportunity of behaviour change methods and frameworks to reduce demand for illegal wildlife||
Apr 27, 2018
Article published in Nature Conservation.
|Interacting Effects of Newcastle Disease Transmission and Illegal Trade on a Wild Population of White-Winged Parakeets in Peru: A Modeling Approach||
Jan 27, 2016
Article published in PLoS ONE.