By Kun Lai Leng Photo: AP
In mid-May 2021, a team of zoology researchers from Illinois conducted a search for ornate box turtles that are at risk of extinction with the aid of hunting dogs. The researchers believe that ornate box turtles may only be traceable in less than ten counties now, among all the 102 counties in Illinois, which is a far cry from the days when nearly half of the states were once the turtles’ habitats.
The research team was made up of researchers from Chicago Zoological Society and University of Illinois. They made a visit to the home of ornate box turtles– Lee County, carrying out a survey at the 3,500-acre Nachusa Grasslands.
Locating ornate box turtles by smell, the Boykin Spaniels assisted researchers to find out small turtles in the grasslands. Once they were found, the researchers would mark down the characteristics of their eyes, ears, nose and size measurements, at the same time taking blood samples.
Dr. Matt Allender, a member veterinarian of Chicago Zoological Society and the director of the University of Illinois Wildlife Epidemiology Laboratory, said, “The ornate box turtles have clear yellow markings on their shells, typically between 8cm to 10cm in length, and weigh about 450 grams.”
This study has been carried out for 15 years, and the data collected will be added to the previous years’ findings in order to identify the factors endangering the environment and health of ornate box turtles.
Allender stated, “Ornate box turtles are the guardians of the environment and ecosystem. They utilize the land and water resources well. Their health also reflects on the current status of our Mother Nature.”
What is zoology?
Is there any job that could satisfy people who love animals, allowing them to interact with animals even at work? Besides the pet industry, zoology and veterinary medicine are the two professions that require in-depth study of animals.
What is the difference between zoology and veterinary medicine? The research team of the ornate box turtles from Chicago Zoological Society and University of Illinois consists of experts in both the fields of zoology and veterinary medicine.
Ranging from animal lovers to environmental defenders, studying zoology has been attractive to those who have a real fondness for nature. A combination of biology, psychology and environmental science, zoology teaches students how to care for, protect and conserve animal life. The working place of zoology graduates is not confined to zoos only. They might need to carry out research at some of the remote and unusual locations, or to analyze and study in a laboratory and so forth, whose potential employers are organizations like charities, government agencies, universities and research institutions.
To study the zoology course, almost all universities will require the subject of biology, sometimes mathematics or other science subjects such as chemistry and physics. Psychology is also useful, especially for those who are interested to specialize in the field of animal behavioral science.
The career paths for zoology graduates include zoologists, zookeepers, ecologists and nature conservation officers. With designated and specific training, zoology graduates can also be animal technicians, nature reserve wardens, environmental scientists, environmental consultants and veterinary nurses, etc.
Can a zoology graduate become a veterinarian? While a zoologist and a veterinarian share many similar skills, a veterinarian is a licensed doctor who has been through clinical training before he or she is qualified to perform surgeries and care for animals. The modules of Veterinary Medicine generally cover animal anatomy and physiology, animal health and disease, and animal breeding, etc. The Veterinary Medicine undergraduate degree usually takes five years to complete. A zoologist is required to undergo further training and obtain relevant qualifications to become a veterinarian.