The EMA is proud to announce we will have two keynote speakers at the 2019 EMA Conference in Denver on October 7-10th. Delegates will have to opportunity to hear important aspects of elephant management from these two keynote speakers. Please register here and join us as we welcome our second keynote speaker.
2019 EMA Conference; Keynote Speaker #2
Lauren Howard, DVM, Dipl. ACZM
Associate Veterinarian, San Diego Safari Park
Dr. Lauren Howard is the Associate Director of Veterinary Services at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which houses a breeding herd of nine African elephants, including two young calves. Dr. Howard is a member of the EEHV Advisory Group Steering Committee, and has traveled and lectured internationally on various aspects of EEHV epidemiology, research and treatment. Prior to her work at the Safari Park, Dr. Howard was a clinical veterinarian at the Houston Zoo, where she served as principal investigator on an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant to better understand EEHV, and coordinated the research collaboration between the Houston Zoo and the Baylor College of Medicine.
Dr. Howard’s presentation, EEHV in a Changing World, will give an overview of the Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) within North America, Europe, and Southeast Asian countries. Dr. Howard will go over important information based on research by the EEHV community, obtained from the EEHV Advisory Group (www.eehvinfo.org). Weekly monitoring protocols of all Asian elephants between 1 and 8 years age are key to fighting this disease. These weekly monitoring protocols’ goal is to detect EEHV in the elephant’s blood early, before the virus replicates out of control and causes organ damage, so that treatment can be most effective. This requires a huge commitment from elephant holding institutions, and is our best recommendation to date for keeping these valuable animals alive to adulthood. Due to the efforts of the dedicated and collaborative EEHV research community, new advances in EEHV T-cell testing and very early stages of EEHV1 vaccine development may lead to new protocols and recommendations in the years to come.
Our EEHV research community has learned so much about this devastating virus over the last 15 years, and yet there is so much remaining to learn. Although our knowledge of EEHV in African elephants is behind what we know about Asian elephants, but we are in the enviable position where we can use what we know about Asian elephants to “catch up” on African elephants relatively quickly. This will require commitment from the African elephant community, in the form of sample collection, dedication of resources, and an investment in the EEHV work that is already taking place. Dr. Howard believes that together, we can take the steps necessary to save our elephants, and ensure they will be around to create the next generation of elephants.