The University of Montreal and of the preservation of beluga whales.
Émilie L. Couture
For many, Émilie L. Couture’s life is anything but routine. As a budding veterinarian, her work has taken her from Canada’s Far North to the St. Lawrence delta, with side trips to Granby Zoo where she practices zoological medicine.
Originally from the Eastern Townships, Émilie’s career choice isn’t surprising. “I’ve always loved animals, but it was only when I started studying veterinary medicine at the UofM that I saw the scope of what was possible. I realized my passion could become my life’s work.”
Today, she is interested in wildlife who are “at the mercy of their environment,” especially the population of belugas and black whales in the Saint-Lawrence where she is trying to determine reasons for their high mortality rates.
For the last two summers, Émilie has participated in a study in the straights of the MacKenzie river, just at the mouth of the Beaufort sea. Here, a team of researchers attached satellite transmitters to beluga whales in order to learn more about their environment and their movement through the arctic ecosystem. For her part, Émilie was focused on assessing the health of the mammals and ensuring the work won’t pose any threat to their safety. “I really appreciate the multidisciplinary work and the exchange of information to better understand their reality. It’s like detective work.”
An environmentalist at heart, Émilie is developing in a world where “I work with my head as much as my hands.” Which is good news for the wildlife that, in her, have found a friend and protector.
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