Honors Projects


Building on field research in Costa Rica and Belize, this honors project analyzes environmental and endangered animal protection policies, rights, and practices in Central America and the Caribbean, and assesses the impact of veterinary science and biological research and practice, particularly conservation biology, on animal welfare concerns. Informed by the recent surge in awareness regarding zoonoses and zoonotic disease transmission, prevention and control, resulting from the current global pandemic of SARS-CoV-2, the project assesses the need for new and innovative types of collaboration, particularly involving conservation biologists, environmental scientists, public health experts, law and policy makers, and global trade and technology experts, is needed to save endangered and critically endangered species, not only in Central America and the Caribbean region, but worldwide. Given the attention to the COVID-19 pandemic, the honors project includes a case study on the Manis javanica (Sunda, Javan, or Malayan pangolin) and the impact of illegal trafficking of this critically endangered animal. Building on this case study, the project theorizes that awareness of zoonosis transmission, prevention and control, especially during a global pandemic, could be key to reducing the sale, either legal or illegal, of wild animals in order to mitigate zoonotic infection spread. Given that nearly sixty percent of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in nature, and seventy-one percent of those zoonotic diseases originate in wildlife, this honors project argues that the COVID-19 pandemic could be instrumental in new awareness and policy development that can reduce illegal trafficking of endangered and critically endangered species.


Biological Sciences


Pre-Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine

First Advisor

Dr. Amilcar Challu

First Advisor Department


Second Advisor

Dr. Justin Donhauser

Second Advisor Department


Third Advisor

Dr. Eileen Underwood

Third Advisor Department

Biological Sciences

Publication Date

Fall 12-7-2020