One of P.E.I.'s premier veterinarians is calling it a career.
Atlantic Veterinary College professor and wildlife pathologist Dr. Pierre-Yves Daoust, who most recently led several whale necropsies during the summer, is retiring after 30 years on the job.
The Quebec-born professor has spent decades looking into diseases in, and death of, many animals across Atlantic Canada and says the decision to retire wasn't a difficult one at all.
"There are many young people who are waiting in line to get some very interesting positions like the one that I have had for the past 30 years," he told Island Morning.
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"I was very happy to leave that to younger, well-informed people to take over and allow myself the opportunity to continue some of my work."
'I'm afraid I'm giving a negative impact of human interaction with wildlife, but this is reality and we have to keep reminding ourselves of that.' — Dr. Pierre-Yves Daoust
Looking back at the three decades as a scientist, Daoust said some of the biggest changes he's seen are in P.E.I.'s waterways and the rate at which the province is being affected by climate change.
This is especially more worrisome, he said, when it comes to right whale deaths in the Atlantic.
"I keep saying I see the worst of animal suffering and yet we as wildlife pathologists have a purpose, we have an animal in front of us our purpose is to try and determine as objectively, as carefully as possible what caused the death of the animal," he said.
Daoust said human interaction with wildlife, combined with many animals' inability to adapt to climate change, is one of the most worrisome trends he's noticed over the course of his career.
"I'm afraid I'm giving a negative impact of human interaction with wildlife, but this is reality and we have to keep reminding ourselves of that," he said.
What's next for Daoust?
Though Daoust will be departing the AVC, he'll be kept busy working closely with Inuit communities in the north and learning more about the ringed seal populations.
He said learning more about the "health status" of those animals will help people understand more about the seal's history as well as the affect of climate change in the north.
But what he's most excited about is working with Inuit hunters.
"Working with the people in communities is probably the most satisfying part of one's job — as veterinarians we could talk about animals all day, but ultimately there is always the human element," he said.
"The human element, no matter what, always brings an interesting component to it."
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