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Department of Biomedical Sciences

Anatomic Pathology
Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Don Schlafer
College of Veterinary Medicine
Cornell University
T4 018 Veterinary Research Tower
Ithaca, NY 14853-6401

phone: 607-253-3336
fax: 607-253-4447

Residency Program in Zoo & Wildlife Pathology

Zoo & Wildlife Pathology Resident

This three-year residency program is designed to prepare candidates for a career in veterinary pathology and certification by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. The program involves two years of general anatomic pathology training at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and a third year of training at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in the Bronx, NY. Through the necropsy and surgical pathology services offered at both institutions, the trainee will have access to extensive case materials and training resources across a wide variety of terrestrial and marine species. Learning via responsibility for case material is supplemented by slide seminars, lectures, and rotations through specialty laboratories. Opportunities exist to progress to graduate research training in a variety of research laboratories affiliated either with Cornell or WCS.


Information regarding applications to both programs (Zoo and Wildlife Pathology and Anatomic Veterinary Pathology) can be found here.


Ithaca, New York, home to Cornell University, is located in the heart of the Finger Lakes region at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake, approximately 250 miles from New York City. The spectacular natural beauty of this area is characterized by gorges, valleys, lakes, streams, waterfalls, and rolling farmland.

The Global Health Program of the WCS is located on the grounds of the Bronx Zoo, in the Bronx borough of New York City. Located to the northeast of Manhattan, it boasts easy access to New York City, and such attractions as Yankee Stadium, the New York Botanical Gardens and some of the largest parks in New York City.

Cornell University

An internationally-known research university, Cornell has seven undergraduate colleges; a graduate school; professional-degree schools in business management, medicine, law, and veterinary medicine; and affiliated faculty units. Founded in 1865, Cornell is the youngest member of the Ivy League and is New York's land-grant institution. Cornell faculty members are leaders in their fields, and many have been honored as Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and members of the National Academy of Sciences. According to a 2008 survey, there were approximately 13,846 undergraduates and 6,427 graduate and professional students on campus.

The Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society, founded in 1895, saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. The WCS works locally and globally to manage and protect over 200 million acres of wild lands around the world, with more than 200 scientists on staff. In addition to caring for the health of the collection, the Global Health Program staff conducts health monitoring and disease investigations, education and local capacity development in five continents. Their work is incredibly diverse, varying from health studies of gorillas in small pockets of remote jungle to migratory birds that travel across hemispheres. In the past few years, WCS health experts have been pivotal in proving that West Nile virus had spread into the U.S., investigating why thousands of penguins were washing ashore at the southern tip of South America, and examining why amphibians are declining all over the world.

More information about the Wildlife Conservation Society can be found at

Living in NYC

During the third year, the resident will relocate to continue training at WCS. The costs of living within the greater metropolitan area of New York (New York City) can vary greatly, with the highest housing costs typically found in the borough of Manhattan. However, with easy access to major roads and highways, affordable housing can be found in any of the five boroughs as well as in adjacent counties (e.g. Westchester) and neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut. Given the increased costs of living compared to those in Ithaca, a salary adjustment is applied to help defray the costs of living the NYC.

New York City is one of the most culturally diverse and exciting major cities in the United States. This metropolis is home to an unrivalled wealth of educational, social, cultural and recreational opportunities and also serves as a major gateway to the world. Nestled at the confluence of the Hudson river and the Long Island sound, New York city is comprised of five boroughs: Manhattan, with its world famous skyline; the Bronx, home to the Bronx zoo, the NY Botanical Garden and some of the most ethnically diverse communities in the city; Queens, with its diverse culture; Brooklyn, across the East river from Manhattan and home to Coney Island and the NY Aquarium; and Staten Island, the “gateway” to the New York harbor.