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Alumni

The International Veterinary in Residence Program was launched in 2014 with two extraordinary residents, both from Chile in South America. In its first year, the program received applications from 20 candidates from 14 countries representing Central and South America, Europe and Asia. Alums return to their home countries where they are applying the knowledge they gained during their residency to their programs at home.



IVIR Program Alumni


Class of 2017

Dr. Youngran Lee
South Korea


Class of 2016


Class of 2015


Class of 2014

Dr. Youngran Lee – South Korea
Dr. Lee is one of the most experienced marine mammal veterinarians in South Korea. She has worked at aquariums in both Japan and Korea, at the Korean National Cetacean Research Institute, and is currently working towards her PhD at Seoul National University. She is also an aquatic medicine lecturer at the University. Recently, she has begun collaborating with the government to establish a marine center for education, research and conservation within Korean waters.

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Dra. Elsa Coria Galindo – Mexico
Dr. Galindo is the primary veterinarian for the marine mammal stranding network in Sonora, Mexico. She worked for many years with the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP), which is similar to the National Park Service in the United States. She works to support pinniped field work, including working with elephant seals in Baja California.

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Dra. Laura Jaramillo Ortiz – Colombia
Dr. Ortiz is from Bogotá, Colombia, and works with Fundación Omacha in wildlife medicine and conservation. She primarily works with the Caribbean manatee and neotropical otter (pinnipeds are a new experience for her!), and works doing stranding response across the Caribbean.

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Dr. Chieh ‘Roger’ Lo – Taiwan
Dr. Lo is a veterinarian at Farglory Ocean Park in Hualien, Taiwan. She received a Masters degree in 2012 for developing a rapid immune test for identifying cetacean meat on the illegal trade market. Dr. Lo also worked as a veterinarian for the Taiwan Cetacean Society in Taipei, where she was responsible for coordinating live stranding response, and necropsy and pathology of dead cetaceans. Her dream is to build a non-profit rescue center for marine animals in Taiwan. Through the IVIR program, she expects to learn not only the medical skills for marine mammals, but the management method of a rehabilitation center. The IVIR program will be a stepping stone on a way to make this rescue center come true.

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Dr. Joana Ikeda – Brazil
Dr. Ikeda is the head veterinarian at Instituto Mamiferos Aquaticos rescue and rehabilitation center in Salvador, Brazil, where she rehabilitates pinnipeds and otters, and responds to stranded cetaceans. She has worked for the federal government on the Manatee Project, conserving the most endangered marine mammal in Brazil. She also has significant research experience, with 9 scientific publications to her name. She hopes that the IVIR program will give her more experience in the management of pinnipeds – species with which she currently works, but which are poorly studied in Brazil. She intends to enrich her knowledge in medicine and anesthesia to better aid the conservation of these species in Brazil.

 

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Dr. Rachawadee ‘Bee’ Chantra – Thailand
Dr. Chantra is a veterinarian at the Marine Endangered Species Unit, Department of Marine and Coastal Resources in Phuket, Thailand. She manages the rescue team, which rescues dolphins, whales, dugong, sea turtles, and sharks. She also assists with research on the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin. In Thailand there are few marine animal veterinarians, and Dr. Chantra wants to apply her experience as an IVIR to managing marine animals in Thailand and sharing her knowledge with other people and veterinary students who are interested in this field.

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Dra. Daniela Barcenas – Mexico
After finishing the IVIR program in 2015, Dr. Barcenas returned to the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California Sur as a part-time professor, teaching subjects such as Biology of Marine Mammals, Survey Techniques of Wild Fauna and Population Ecology in the Veterinary School.

She left in August to start Cientenela, a nonprofit conservation group in Baja California. She coordinates the Sea Lion Disentanglement Project, which provides training for local government agencies to rescue California sea lions entangled in marine debris. Recent campaigns have been successful in La Paz Bay, Los Islotes and San Rafaelito.

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Dra. Liliana Serrano – Mexico
After finishing the IVIR program in 2015, Dr. Serrano continued her work at Delphinus, located in the Riviera Maya and Cancun, Mexico. She is the head veterinarian at the Cancun facility, where she cares for a population of 85 dolphins and several sea lions. After her residency at The Marine Mammal Center, she took over care of the sea lions.

The Marine Mammal Center gave her a lot of confidence to work with sea lions, and although she thought she was a “cetacean girl,” she now knows that she loves pinnipeds too. Dr. Serrano most enjoyed learning about rehabilitation medicine, and hopes that one day she can work with both captive and wild animals.

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Dra. Maria Echenique – Mexico
Since finishing the IVIR program at The Marine Mammal Center in 2015, only amazing things have happened in Dr. Echenique’s life. She completed her thesis at the National University of Mexico in Mexico City, and had the wonderful opportunity to start work as a veterinarian at Cabo Dolphins.

In addition to caring for the many marine mammals at their facility, Cabo Dolphins responds to marine mammal stranding calls for seals, sea lions and cetaceans. The goal of Dr. Echenique’s work is to reach people´s hearts and make them fall in love with marine mammals, the ocean and the amazing nature that is all around them.

The knowledge that The Marine Mammal Center shared with her has been an essential tool for her work with these animals, and the program trained her in both educating others and continuing to educate herself. She is very grateful for all of the staff and volunteers of The Marine Mammal Center – the IVIR program was one of the best experiences that she ever had!

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Dr. Mauricio Ulloa – Chile
Mauricio Ulloa is the Chief of the Aquatic Animal Rescue and Conservation Unit within the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service of Chile, which was recently established in 2013. Similar to the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program of the National Marine Fisheries Service here in the United States, the Unit coordinates the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of stranded aquatic animals nationwide, and trains veterinary professionals in marine mammal medicine and necropsy. Mauricio received his veterinary degree from the University of Chile, as well as a Master’s of Science in Medical Parasitology from the University of London.

Mauricio was the Center’s first International Vet In-Residence, and during his three-month residency he participated in all aspects of the Center’s operations: working on clinics and in necropsy, volunteering with animal care crews, and rescuing animals at our satellite facilities in San Luis Obispo and Monterey.

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Dra. Josefina Gutiérrez – Chile
Josefina Gutiérrez received her veterinary degree from the University of Chile. During veterinary school, she started working as a volunteer at a marine animal rescue center inside the Buin Zoo in Santiago.

At the center she worked with a variety of marine species, including two species of phocids, three species of otariids, three species of penguins, cetaceans, and sea turtles. After she graduated, she started working at the same place as their official vet until 2013, when she started looking for post-graduate programs to learn more.

As Josefina has always had a passion for wildlife and conservation, she has participated in field research studying infectious disease in Uruguay, working with an environmental consultancy in Chile, and has participated in multiple courses and conferences related to marine conservation all over the world.

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