CAPTAIN TAMANDUA

Dr. Alejandro Morales

Assistant Director, ARCAS Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center | Médico Veterinario 2010, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala | MSc (One Health) 2017, Ross University | Diploma, Veterinary forensics, animal law and criminalistics

My Story

Animal wellbeing, conservation and fascination with the myriad of forms of life.

I believe that we are responsible for the damage done to animals, and we should utilize every tool to redeem that damage. The tool I chose was medicine enhanced with education and conservation.

My Struggles

The struggles actually came late, wildlife veterinarians are seen as the “ugly ducklings” of the profession, I felt left out of a lot of practices and classes, as the few of us interested in something beyond domestic or production animals would be pushed away as we would not benefit from it and our space could be better used to someone else.

Then came the professional development, ugly duckling professional, in a poor country that is discriminated by developed countries, fighting for conservation which goes against “development”; it was difficult to prove my worth, to keep lifting my head and saying “not only can I do this, but I am good at this”. Having to constantly prove myself that even though I still had (have) much to learn, I can overcome the negativity that surrounds my reality.

My Heroes

Animals. They adapt, they evolve, they fight, they do not stay still.
My mom. She taught me to perservere.

Jane Goodall
Jacques Cousteau

I had a very negative role model, an ornithologist that embodied everything I didn’t want to become, a know-it-all, incapable of gratitude, she would blame everyone else for mistakes and not accept her own, and someone respected (and disliked) in the conservation community. She is the role model of how not to do it. I decided thanks to her that I would do conservation differently.

My Typical Day

IF i had a typical day it would look like this:
6:30 review patients from the day before, clean some enclosures, feed some animals, start with treatments.
8:00 breakfast
9:00 paperwork, animal checkup, lab work
11:00 animal feeding
12:00 building/maintenance of infrastructure
13:00 lunch
14:00 animal feeds, preparing treatments for afternoon
15:00 animal checkup, review diets and clinical roster for following day, treatments
16:00 paperwork and leaving lab works for the following day

BUT this rarely happens… I get 1 of these every 15 days, every other day I have animal emergencies, maintenance emergencies, phone calls, animal rescues… the usual.

Oh, be on call for certain species and certain treatments until 21:00

My Stressors

Animal suffering. I manage this by implementing medicine, and understanding how far I can go in each case.

Phone calls that have nothing to do with work during work hours. Sadly I cant manage because animal rescues come from unknown numbers, so I cant have a blanket “no answer unknowns”

Technological issues. Due to the location of my workplace having reliable internet, or even reliable interconnectivity is close to impossible, keeping everything updated and backed up makes me quite tense. I am looking for a good solution, up to now hard drives and multiple antennas seem to be working.

My Why

Giving wildlife a second chance at being free.

Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-7607

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