A veterinarian with a passion for wildlife

Soon after he began training in veterinary medicine, Stéphane Lair’s interests turned to wildlife health. He treated fish, alligators, birds of prey, sea turtles, northern sea lions, harbours seals… a far cry from typical pets! After completing his studies in veterinary pathology at the University of Montreal in the 1980s, Stéphane Lair completed his residency in medicine and zoological pathology at the University of Guelph in Ontario. During his studies, he spent three years in residency at the Toronto Zoo and subsequently passed the American College of Zoological Medicine exam in 1999. He then left for the other edge of the continent to work as a veterinarian at the University of British Columbia’s Animal Care Centre. Upon returning to the University of Montreal in 2001, Dr. Daniel Martineau offered him job as director of the St. Lawrence beluga whale pathology programme. The purpose of the programme, which has been in operation for over twenty years, is to investigate causes of death of the animals that make up this endangered beluga whale population. That same year he also became associate professor at the Clinical Sciences Department of the University of Montreal’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. He is responsible for the zoological medicine programme that deals with wildlife, zoo and aquarium animals, and exotic pets.

Mr. Lair is also academically responsible for the Quebec division of the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre. This centre offers wildlife pathology expertise in collaboration with various Canadian faculties of veterinary medicine and is also a partner of the Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network. Stéphane Lair is concerned about major marine ecosystem changes that result from diverse factors, including the overexploitation of resources, increased industrial activity and climate change. For him, marine mammals are “signal” species; by studying the health of these animals, Stéphane Lair hopes to contribute to a better understanding of the St. Lawrence and other marine habitats.