Dr. Martin Gilbert, the Cornell K. Lisa Yang Center for Wildlife Health’s Wild Carnivore Health Specialist, is a wildlife veterinarian and epidemiologist who has worked for decades in the non-governmental sector and in academia on international conservation projects in settings as diverse as Greenland, Papua New Guinea, and Madagascar. Through his work with The Peregrine Fund in Pakistan, Dr. Gilbert coordinated the field investigation into the catastrophic declines that devastated vulture populations across the Indian subcontinent. This work ultimately led to the finding that veterinary use of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac was responsible for the vulture declines, leading to strategies that are beginning to promote the recovery of the species involved.
At the Wildlife Conservation Society, Dr. Gilbert oversaw the development of a regional wildlife health program in Southeast and Central Asia focused on threats to species conservation and emerging infectious disease. Through Ph.D. research at the University of Glasgow, he focused on understanding the impact of canine distemper virus (CDV) on the survival of Amur tigers in the Russian Far East. This work synthesized the findings of field-based disease ecology research with computer modeling and laboratory techniques to design management strategies to mitigate the threat posed by CDV to wild tigers, a challenge Dr. Gilbert is still working hard to address.