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Posted on Mar 25, 2014

Lobo’s Hope

Lobo is a five-year-old binturong with a tail that wouldn’t uncurl – a definite problem for a tree-dwelling carnivore who needs a flexible tail in order to get around. But Lobo’s crooked tail is just part of his story, which began a few years ago when he was rescued from a living situation that left him with several health issues. Following his rescue, Lobo found a home at the Conservators’ Center, a nonprofit organization in Burlington, N.C. that preserves a variety of threatened species. The Center’s staff brought Lobo to NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine in order to help him regain his health and see what could be done to rehabilitate his tail.

Exotic animals like Lobo can pose a challenge for traditional veterinarians, who probably don’t see a lot of lions, tigers or binturongs – none of which are native to the Southeastern U.S.; binturongs hail from Southeast Asia – in their local practices. But NC State is trying to remedy that situation through the carnivore team, a group of veterinary students who work with the kinds of animals that you may find only in zoos or private conservation reserves.

Suzanne Kennedy-Stoskopf is the faculty creator and advisor of the carnivore team. With a clinical background in zoological and wildlife medicine, she felt that it was important that students be able to work with non-domestic species.

“There is a significant population of exotic animals in the U.S.,” says Kennedy-Stoskopf, “and it’s really important that these animals have access to quality veterinary care. In traditional curriculums most students do not get exposure to how to safely work around these animals, so the carnivore team was created to allow them to get experience while they’re still veterinary students.”

CVM Carnivore Team

College of Veterinary Medicine Carnivore Team members Kim Boykin, Michelle Schisa and Adeline Noger (left to right) at the Conservators’ Center

The team was founded three years ago, and students can join in their first, second or third year of vet school. There are around 40 members of the team, and each member devotes three days per month to team projects. Kennedy-Stoskopf has partnered with the Conservators’ Center, which keeps numerous exotic species, including lions and other wild cats, wolves, and of course, binturongs.

Michelle Schisa is one of the founding members of the carnivore team. She is responsible for organizing the other team members for trips out to the Conservators’ Center. Lobo’s case gave the team a great opportunity to learn more about binturongs, as well as some hands-on practical experience.

“The carnivore team was responsible for conducting the initial head-to-toe physical exam,” Schisa says. “That included making sure he was comfortable under anesthesia, administering intravenous fluids and monitoring his condition throughout the exam. This is a unique experience that many vet students don’t get while they’re in school – and I’m hoping it will help me get a job with a zoological facility, either somewhere like the Conservators’ Center or at a typical zoo.”

While the team provides an excellent training opportunity for veterinary students who want to go into zoological or wildlife medicine, it also fills medical care needs for organizations like the Conservators’ Center.

According to Mindy Stinner, executive director of the Conservators’ Center, “Binturongs are one of the more unusual species living at the Center, so we’re really pleased that the veterinarians at NC State have enough experience with these animals to take on some of our more difficult cases, like Lobo.


“When he arrived he received the urgent care he required, but he needed some follow-up care. Lobo had several medical issues, including the fact that the end of his tail wouldn’t unfurl properly. We were concerned about the pain this caused him because it got caught on the edges of platforms, his denbox and other items when he moved around his habitat. We kept it bandaged and softened the edges of the enrichment in his habitat to minimize damage. But every time it started to heal he managed to snag it on something and re-open the wounds. So we consulted the experts at NC State.”

With guidance from the veterinarians, Lobo’s caregivers gave him daily tail massage and stretching exercises in an effort to rehabilitate it. They also began a modified diet featuring fruit smoothies to help him with a kidney issue. Over time it became clear to the Center’s staff and the NC State veterinarians that the best option for Lobo was to amputate part of his tail.

Fortunately for this feisty binturong, his outlook is good. Stinner says that he has adjusted well to his new tail length. Although he cannot grasp with it, now that he is unencumbered by the weight of the damaged section and the hooked tip, he is better able to climb about his habitat. And his kidney function is normal, thanks to the diet he had been prescribed.

“We’re really pleased with Lobo’s improvement,” Stinner says. “The carnivore team offered excellent medical guidance to our vet tech, who oversees his ongoing care. The specialty care that NC State provided for Lobo will ensure him a very good quality of life.”

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Posted on Feb 24, 2014

A Leader in His Time

When student leaders urged Eric Moore to run for president of the Student Senate in the spring of 1969, Moore was initially reluctant to take what he considered to be a big leap: entering a race to become NC State’s first African-American student government leader.

Moore, a Durham, N.C., native and Hillside High graduate, came to NC State as an engineering student but eventually graduated in speech communications in December 1970. He went to graduate school at Ohio University and eventually spent more than two decades as a communications instructor at Fayetteville State.

He reflected on his time at NC State in a videotaped interview with the NCSU Libraries Student Leadership Initiative, discussing his role in getting students more involved with administrative decisions, the push to get NC State to offer its first African-American studies classes and other accomplishments during a time of cultural expansion on campus.

When Moore decided to run for Student Senate president, he was a disc jockey at student radio station WKNC, right next door to the office of the Technician student newspaper. Moore discussed his candidacy with Technician editor George Patton, and Patton offered to do Moore a favor.

“A decision was made that my picture would not appear [in Technician] before the election was over, because that might have an impact on whether I might get elected or not,” Moore recalls. “Signs went out: ‘Eric Moore!’ Fortunately, that didn’t sound much like an African-American name.”

Of course, little could have hurt Moore’s candidacy because he was running unopposed in the school’s old two-party election process. At the time, student government was changing its constitution, so Moore was the first NC State student to be elected president of the Student Senate, a position comparable to vice president of the student body.

It was an exciting time for Moore, an active student who played bassoon in the concert band and saxophone in the marching band and was involved in the Society of Afro-American Culture. He also spent time and took classes at St. Augustine’s University and Shaw University, Raleigh’s two historically black colleges. In fact, Moore met his wife at Shaw because she had the competing time slot at her school’s radio station.

Moore was active in the cultural movements of his day, but he never considered himself an activist, and he even subverted a plot to sneak the first African-American candidate for homecoming queen into the annual homecoming parade. Plotters in the SAAC made elaborate plans to sneak her into the parade lineup at a strategically chosen intersection.

Instead, Moore just asked some administrators if she could be in the parade and got a simple yes, with no clandestine plots needed.

“It wasn’t an exclusionary thing but it was almost a case of … we never really thought about this,” Moore says. “[The push for student power] was more just for them to listen to us. We might have something we could contribute to the situation. … There was a constant push to listen to the students.”

During his tenure, Moore developed a good relationship with Alabama-born Chancellor John Caldwell. They hit it off so well that Caldwell helped Moore get into graduate school at Ohio University.

“That was something he would do for people he cared for, and I’ve always appreciated that, because there were strategic folk on campus who would look beyond race and just basically dealt with you as a person, and I’ve always enjoyed that about State,” Moore says.

As Black History Month draws to a close, learn more about NC State’s own fascinating African-American history at the Historical State website.

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