Featured Bozemanite: Dr. Deborah McCauley
Global Wildlife Veterinarian & Bozeman Social Entrepreneur
Vandana Sood-Giddings | Wednesday May. 1st, 2019
VIEW (Veterinary Initiative for Endangered Wildlife
) is the ONLY wildlife conservation organization focused solely on addressing the health threats of endangered wildlife as part of a comprehensive strategy, and it is participating in Give Big Gallatin Valley from 6 p.m. on May 2 until 6 p.m. on May 3. It’s founder, Dr. Deborah McCauley, globally recognized wildlife veterinarian, social entrepreneur, received the prestigious 2019 Women’s Leadership Award from the Emily Couric Leadership Forum on Monday, April 15 in Charlottesville, Virginia, headquarters for the Leadership Forum.
The Women’s Leadership Award acknowledges an exceptional woman who exemplifies leadership in her profession and her community, with Emily Couric herself receiving the first honor in 2001. Honored speakers in the past have included Katie Couric, Rita Dove, Sandra Day O’Connor, Caroline Kennedy, Donna Brazille, Anna Quindlen, Olympia Snow, Tina Brown, and Sylvia Earle.
Dr. McCauley is a wildlife veterinarian who founded VIEW in 2012 in response to what she identified as a critical, missing piece in wildlife conservation-- wildlife health, which is now often a greater threat to endangered species than poaching or natural habitat loss. As a wildlife veterinarian for more than a decade, working with rhinos, tigers, wolverines, bison, bighorn sheep and other threatened species throughout Asia and in the Rocky Mountains, she established VIEW on the realization that without a greater focus on wildlife health, conservation would only be taking a band-aid approach to saving critically endangered or threatened species.
VIEW is starting an initiative in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem focusing on protecting our priority Yellowstone species by targeting key heath threats they face in their native habitat. VIEW will be partnering with local organizations and agencies to implement disease surveillance of priority species. Disease surveillance efforts are the first step to understanding health risks.
Within five years of working in Nepal, where VIEW began its first wildlife health initiatives, VIEW had developed a sustainable wildlife health program, which now includes a disease surveillance program and advanced veterinary care for critically endangered wildlife. Working with partners in the field, VIEW has trained over 200 wildlife professionals, helped to save orphaned rhinos, re-released tigers back into the wild and built a field laboratory and hospital. VIEW has also created the world’s first wildlife health database platform tailored to endangered wildlife, which is an essential foundation for monitoring and addressing wildlife health threats.
VIEW is now working in other countries, providing the tools and training necessary for establishing an effective wildlife health system as a cornerstone of a country´s conservation strategy. With consistent and persistent support on the ground, strong local partnerships and promoting open sharing of ideas, this model is a template that can be implemented in other parts of the world where health issues are threatening fragile species.
In 2018, Dr. McCauley was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship for her leadership in building a sustainable wildlife health initiative in Nepal that can be replicated globally. Under Dr. McCauley’s leadership, VIEW continues to grow to address wildlife health needs globally. In 2019, VIEW will expand its wildlife health programs into India´s tiger habitat while also initiating projects with bison in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
“I am honored to have received the Emily Couric Women’s leadership Award and to have not only received such a prestigious award but to be among bright young women who were celebrated with scholarships for their leadership roles during high school. Some of the young women were activists, scientist, poets and innovative thinkers. It is clear they will be our leaders in the future.
“Attendance to the Award ceremony was the second largest reception in the 19-year history, and I was elated that there were so many people interested in learning more about wildlife health and VIEW’s work. VIEW’s innovative approach to conservation by including wildlife health into the conservation toolkit, is the missing piece of conservation to helping our most fragile wildlife populations. I am hoping that this Award will help bring awareness to this important issue.
“I was fortunate enough to get an invitation to be interviewed by Virginia NPR which is syndicated across the country,” Deborah said in response to winning the award.
VIEW is an established non-profit conservation organization, governed by a board of directors composed of veterinary medicine and conservation professionals, each of whom volunteers their time and expertise to further VIEW’s mission, goals and purpose. Their mission is to protect endangered wildlife by tackling the health threats they face in their native habitats.