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American bison on plains

About Us

The American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians was formed in 1979 by a small group of veterinarians with a common interest in free-ranging wildlife. Initially, most members worked for government wildlife management agencies. But, with the rise of conservation biology and a better societal appreciation for what veterinarians can bring to wildlife health and conservation, current members work at academic institutions, in domestic animal private practice, at zoos and aquaria, in wildlife rehabilitation facilities, and with state/provincial and federal agencies. Members engage in wildlife health research, clinical medicine, teaching, disease surveillance, regulatory work, and administration.


The AAWV strives to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To enhance the contribution of veterinary medicine to the health, conservation, and welfare of wildlife.

  2. To encourage an increased emphasis throughout the veterinary profession relative to the health, conservation, welfare, and management of free-ranging species.

  3. To encourage the recognition of wildlife disease / health syndromes in their broadest sense as potentially influenced by environmental threats.

  4. To educate and collaborate with governmental agencies, legislators, and other stakeholders about the importance of free-ranging wildlife health and the services which can be provided by wildlife veterinarians.

  5. To stress the importance of the interrelationships of people, domestic animals, and wildlife as both sources, reservoirs and victims of disease, a concept referred to as ‘One Health’.

  6. To help establish and encourage education programs for students and veterinarians interested in the management and health of wildlife.

The structure and operations of the organization are guided by its constitution and bylaws. Over the years, the AAWV has developed position statements on climate change, feral cats, foot-hold traps, One Health, and oral rabies vaccines.


Membership elects a Board of Governors every two years. Each board member is a veterinarian and active member of AAWV, the Wildlife Disease Association, and the American Veterinary Medical Association. The boards manages the day-to-day operations of the organization with support provided by the Advisory Council. The immediate past president serves as chair of the council and appoints members, all of whom must be active members of AAWV. These and any AAWV committee positions are voluntary.


The AAWV works with a variety of partners to promote the health, conservation, management, and welfare of wildlife. We collaborate with government agencies, non-profit organizations, research institutions, and other stakeholders. Our partners share our commitment to promoting and protecting the health and welfare of wildlife, and we are proud to work alongside them.

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