Connecting Wildlife Rescue Centers, Veterinarians, Scientists, and Conservation Research: A Korean Experience

The Conservation Genome Resource Bank for Korean Wildlife (CGRB) was established in 2002 at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University with the support of the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation. CGRB has created a wildlife conservation network with the help of wildlife rescue centers, wildlife-related non-governmental organizations (NGOS) and has successfully connected field wildlife biologists, veterinarians and researchersin Korea. Through this network, CGRB provides veterinary assistance and expertise to rescue centers and NGOs and collects and distributes genetic samples of wildlife.

The samples stored at CGRB represents precious biological resources of Korea. The samples are used in studies of systematics, evolutionary & conservation biology, conservation & population genetics, reproduction of endangered species, and wildlife & zoonotic diseases. As of October 2011, there are tissue and DNA samples from 13,774 individuals of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, representing 429 species. A total of 5,975 samples have been distributed to researchers at universities and institutions for wildlife research including wildlife disease surveys, studies of environmental contamination, taxonomy, and forensics.

The CGRB also conducts research on conservation genetics, biology and medicine, and organizes a number of domestic and international workshops and symposiums to promote these fields in Korea. Since wildlife health is intertwined with livestock and human health, wildlife diseases research using samples from the CGRB may help protect the health and welfare of both humans and livestock. Through these efforts, the CGRB effectively connects veterinarians, scientists, and wildlife NGOs in Korea, not only, for the benefit of wildlife conservation, but also ecosystem health monitoring.

The poster will share the lessons learn at CGRB during a decade of operation by giving an overview of the efforts and achievements made and outlining the network in place for wildlife conservation in Korea.

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