CROW announces new veterinary intern
Dr. Mariah Lancaster recently joined the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife as its newest Wildlife and Conservation Medicine intern. Her seven-month-long veterinary internship began on Dec. 1.
Lancaster, who grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts, began her undergraduate career at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado, before being accepted to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She spent a semester traveling the globe on Semester at Sea to places such as Spain, Morroco, South Africa, Singapore and China, before returning to the University of Massachusetts Amherst to complete a degree in pre-veterinary medicine. Lancaster went on to earn her doctorate from the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 2017.
“I had always loved wildlife, but while sitting in the student advisors office waiting to discuss my impending semester abroad, I picked up a National Geographic and read an article called ‘The Kingpin’ by Bryan Christy, about the black market wildlife trade in Asia,” she said. “Reading the article, I felt my blood begin to boil. I realized I hadn’t felt that passionate about anything I’d been doing in school for the past two years. I knew that if I didn’t change my life and pursue a career in protecting wildlife, I would regret it forever, and I believed my best road to this was to pursue veterinary school.”
While still an undergraduate, Lancaster interned with Wingmasters, a raptor rehabilitator in Leverett, Massachusetts. Once in vet school, she completed a work-study program at the wildlife clinic and spent her summers doing international wildlife rehabilitation, including a month at ARCAS Wildlife Rescue Center in Peten, Guatemala, and three weeks on the island of Palawan in the Philippines rehabilitating endangered Philippine forest turtles that were confiscated from poachers collecting them for the black market wildlife trade. Following vet school, Lancaster completed a small animal rotating internship at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, and worked as an emergency relief veterinarian, pursuing opportunities such as volunteering with World Vets to do the annual veterinary care for Maya Key, a wildlife sanctuary in Roatan, Honduras.
“My goal is to pursue a career in international wildlife conservation policy, within the frame of One-Health Medicine – combining environmental policy, human health and animal health towards preserving our ecosystems and promoting sustainable development,” she said. “Human activity is the number one cause of admissions to wildlife hospitals and our pollution contributes to worsening red tide seasons and climate change. Since humans are the cause, humans must work to fix it – and it’s up to our entire species to advocate for those unable to advocate for themselves.”
CROW’s Wildlife and Conservation Medicine Internship is centered around the “One World, One Health concept” and designed for those who have completed their Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and are interested in gaining experience treating wildlife. In addition to clinical duties, interns participate in research and conservation projects, give case and journal club rounds, and help teach students, staff and volunteers.
“This internship is building the foundation of my clinical wildlife experience,” Lancaster said. “Within just the first few weeks I have learned an enormous amount about wildlife triage and critical care, as well as rehabilitation and release. I am profoundly fortunate to be working with such an incredible staff and learning from world-class clinicians.”
For more information about internships and externships offered at CROW, visit www.CROWClinic.org/articles/student-programs.