Yep, I think that I have! In some things that I’ve done as a scientist in my research, but also in some of the things I do in my free time.
In my research, I’m working primarily in the area of wildlife health. And I’m trying to find links to human health, by using animals (flamingos!) to figure out how healthy their environments are. A lot of waters where flamingos live are really polluted – this can cause them (and humans!) to die from diseases. Polluted water is one of the biggest killers on Earth, and makes many many people sick in places where not everyone has access to clean drinking water. So hopefully with my research I’ll be able to help out a bit with this problem.
In my free time, I’ve done some volunteering with conservation groups – who go out and make sure that the parks and natural areas that we like to go spend time in are kept nice, and that they’re good places for animals to make homes as well.
Do you think that you’d like to try and help protect animals or the planet some day? Or are you doing anything now?
as a scientist I believe I have helped our planet by researching ways to generate energy without polluting the environment and ways to reduce the energy needs of our buildings. By reducing pollution we make a very important step to keeping our planet “healthy”. Less pollution means, less global warming and animals surviving better in their natural habitats.
Some of my research on how vultures find food together is being used to design better ways to give them extra food at vulture restaurants (thats a nice way of saying stick a dead zebra or antelope on the ground in the same place every week!) so that they find enough to survive and breed. I am continuing this with a student of mine who travels to Swaziland, in South Africa, to find our more information and understand this system better.
Other research I have done lets us conserve populations of marine turtles and try to find the best time of year to rescue eggs so that we make sure enough females are born to keep the populations growing again back to their original levels before humans started hunting them.
Very recently I have been working with a student to find times of year and places to fish in the ocean where we can avoid catching fish that cant be sold in shops and would otherwise end being killed and thrown back overboard.. what a waste!
Funny.. now that you ask, i realise quite a bit of my research helps the animals i study!