wildlife health center staff photo

About the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center

The Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center works to maintain the health of wildlife, people and environment through science, technology and education. As the largest center within the One Health Institute, our work recognizes that the health of domestic animals, wildlife, people and the environment are inextricably linked.

As a part of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, our projects and programs focus on free-ranging and captive terrestrial and aquatic wild animals. Through our service, training and research in the programs listed below, we also aim to restore ecosystem health and address complex issues like zoonotic diseases that impact animals and humans.


The Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center's programs are broad-based, supporting the activities of affiliated faculty in their respective areas of interest. Most of our programs include elements of teaching, research and service. During the past several years, our activities have expanded internationally to include the major programs and projects listed below. 

  • Oiled Wildlife Care Network: focusing on four core areas to expediently and effectively offer the best achievable capture and care for oil-affected wildlife
  • SeaDoc Society: ensuring the health of marine wildlife and their ecosystems in the Salish Sea through science and education
  • Gorilla Doctors: conserving wild mountain and eastern lowland (or Grauer's) gorillas through life-saving veterinary medicine and a One Health approach
  • Latin America Program: tackling a variety of wildlife health issues in South America, including the population health of southern right whales and the effects of lead ammunition on waterfowl
  • Zoological Medicine: training future leaders in zoo and wildlife medicine and helping to ensure the recovery of endangered species through veterinary care
  • Marine Ecosystem Health Diagnostic and Surveillance Laboratory: testing animal samples to discover potentially deadly pathogens and providing diagnostic services on marine wildlife to assess the the impact of disease


  • California Conservation: conducting research on key species of concern to ensure healthy wildlife, ecosystems and people throughout California, including marine animals, condors and mountain lions.
  • California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project: retrieving lost fishing gear anywhere on the coast where it is a high priority for removal because of demonstrated or potential impacts to marine wildlife and people.
  • Wildlife Disease Association Conference