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Why hang with your friends? Answers from an African Wild dog

Dr. Kathleen Alexander

April 05, 2014
An interactive session led by Dr. Kathleen Alexander

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech

  Why do some animals hang out with their friends and others just chill on their own? Animals have different strategies for surviving and raising their young. Some involve living in groups while other species live a solitary lifestyle. What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? How does infectious disease affect these species differently? African wild dogs are one of the most endangered species in the world and they must live in groups – they have no choice. What can we learn from this species and other predators that live in Africa?

Dr. Kathleen Alexander has been conducting research in East and Southern Africa for over twenty years. She has worked for the Government of Botswana as both the Chief of the Wildlife Veterinary Unit in the Department of Wildlife and National Parks and later, as the Ecological Advisor to the Office of the President of Botswana and the Attorney Generals Chambers. She has spent most of her professional life working with local communities integrating scientific approaches with traditional understanding in order to identify interventions for improved rural livelihoods. She is a member of both the World Conservation Union's Wildlife Health Specialist Group as well as the Commission for Ecosystem Management. She moved to Department of  Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech in 2007 where she continues to conduct research in her long-term Botswana study site on the dynamics of emerging infectious disease at the human - animal interface. Kathleen received both her PhD and veterinary degree from University of California, Davis.

After the interactive session the students will be escorted by their parents to have lunch and then to the hands-on portion of the event. There the students will enjoy the experience of interacting with various exhibits from the Virginia Tech community.