Our History & Our Mission


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 AAWV 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.

Active membership is open to graduates of colleges or schools of veterinary medicine who support the objectives of the AAWV and work with, or have an interest in, the application of veterinary medicine to the issues facing free-ranging wildlife. Students in colleges or schools of veterinary medicine, other wildlife professionals, and institutions are also eligible for membership. Become a member today!


The AAWV has many ongoing mission objectives:

  • To enhance the contribution of veterinary medicine to the health, conservation, and welfare of wildlife.
  • To encourage an increased emphasis throughout the veterinary profession relative to the health, conservation, welfare, and management of free-ranging species.
  • To encourage the recognition of wildlife disease / health syndromes in their broadest sense as potentially influenced by environmental threats.
  • 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.
  • 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’.
  • To help establish and encourage education programs for students and veterinarians interested in the management and health of wildlife.