Chris Tabaka, DVM
World Chelonian Trust Veterinary Advisor / Trustee
Copyright © 2003 World Chelonian Trust
All rights reserved
grew up in Michigan where as a kid his
fascination with turtles was born when he
brought home Hercumer, his
kindergarten class' common snapping turtle for the summer.
It was love at first sight and led to long, long summers for the various painted turtles, snappers, and sliders in various ponds in the neighborhood.
Knowing at a very early age he wanted to help animals, he attended Michigan State University earning a bachelors in biology and then a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.
During this time he
worked closely with the wildlife rehabiltation center at the vet school and decided that zoo veterinary medicine, with it's incredible variety of taxa as well as clinical cases, was the only career choice worth pursuing.
first encounter with the World Chelonian Trust
board was when Darrell Senneke contacted him in 1998 about a pair of conjoined elongated tortoise hatchlings.
In terms of ongoing chelonian pursuits, Chris is intensively involved with the Turtle Survival Alliance on a variety of levels including being the point person and veterinary advisor for a variety of species.
has also done a lot of reptile medicine training and consulting including working with colleagues and friends at the Chengdu Zoo in China as well as Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden in Hong Kong.
His research pursuits include working with the University of Florida in developing immunological reagents in Cuora galbinifrons (and hopefully most of the other Asian species if this is successful), fieldwork on tarantulas in Belize, and Louisiana pine snake (Pituophis ruthveni) radiotelemetry release research in Louisiana.
Lastly, he does a lot of work with the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians and the AZA's Chelonian Taxon Advisory Group.
Like the rest of the trustees, he
believes very strongly in working closely with others in order to acheive the WCT's
goals of promoting conservation and education and thereby ensuring that all of the chelonia here today are still here many generations from now..