March 2015 Advanced Training Course
Michiko Karasawa (4th year, Vet Science, Rakuno Gakuen University)
I found out about this course 2 years ago when AJWCEF held a lecture at my university. It was there I learnt about Moggill Koala Hospital, a hospital that specialised in treating wild koalas, and that this course also involved training for living overseas.
In addition, one of the sites visited during the course, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) Wildlife Hospital is an animal hospital specialising in wildlife that is run entirely on donations and proceeds from the park. I had wondered about how veterinarians were involved with wildlife in the past so the possibility of visiting a facility like this that could not be seen in Japan made me want to know more about the relationship between people and wildlife.
I felt the bar was set very high if I was to work overseas in the future, so I decided to do this program to get closer to that standard if even just a little.
There were 3 veterinarians working at CWS Hospital and during the course wildlife was frequently being brought into the hospital. In particular, I noticed unlike in Japan there were 2 – 3 times more vets involved in the treatment of wildlife, while day-to-day care and office work was mainly conducted by volunteers.
It could be said that animals are a valuable tourism resource and that is why there is a lot of interest and concern for animals in Australia but I felt that wildlife was immersed among people a lot more than in Japan. Even the feeding of wildlife was becoming an event in a way.
I was able to see the treatment and anatomy of many animals native to Australia, so their bodily composition was completely different from animals in the Northern Hemisphere, which was fascinating. Also, as part of the advanced course we were able to see work of veterinarians up close, which made it easier to be aware of how as a veterinarian it is possible to be involved in wildlife conservation. Every day was stimulating and full of surprises; with such substantial contents, you would not have thought it was only a weeklong training course.
Within the various talks I had with Professor Mizuno, “The truth is something you have to decide for yourself” and “Just because a pig is fat, it doesn’t mean that it is happy” are some of the things he said that left a lasting impression. I think there are many things about Japan and myself that I just accepted and won’t understand if I am content to stay in my comfort zone. So even domestically, I plan to live my life with my eyes and ears open.
Finally, I would like to thank Professor Mizuno, Ms. Toshimi, my fellow participants, the staff who made the last 7 days so memorable and my parents.