Starting November 1, Dr. Newkirk will take a sabbatical to embark on international efforts in animal conservation. Read about his plans in his letter below.
From Dr. Newkirk:
Hello to all of my wonderful and valued clients!
I want to share with you my next ventures in veterinary medicine! As many of you know, I have been fortunate enough to travel to many parts of the world in my life, to be with several of nature's majestic creatures. From lions, to elephants, to giraffes, gorillas and great white sharks! It has always been my passion to work with and help these animals, many of whom are endangered or on the critical list of protected species.
Many of you also know of my back problems, which necessitated 3 surgeries. Thus, before my back gives out entirely (let's pray not), and after 41 years of practice, I want to enjoy the next phase of my veterinary life. By working further alongside with these amazing creatures. Thus, over the next year I am going to take several sabbaticals from the practice in order to continue my passion by helping conserve and research many species. This will begin on November 1, 2022.
I will initiate my travels in Ecuador working with a rehab organization which takes in lions, bears, jaguars and other animals trapped in sideshow circuses and tiny cages. Many of these animals have had their teeth broken out, claws ripped out and all suffer from parasites and malnutrition.
We help these animals get better and they then live in large fenced areas at the park where they can play and exercise. They also rehab wild animals caught in traps or shot, and try to return them to the wild. Please research Amaru Bioparque, in Cuenca, Ecuador for additional information.
In April 2023, I will travel to Africa to work with and research African Painted Dogs in Zululand. These beautiful animals need study to determine environmental stresses on breeding and to study their social behaviors. Sometimes, radio collars are placed on them to track their movements.
In July 2023, I will be in South Africa working with a rhinoceros conservation and helping with orphaned rhinoceros’, whose mothers have been killed by poachers. Raising them and helping them to possibly return to the wild. They are absolutely adorable!
In Fall 2023, I will travel to Malaysia to be with orphaned orangutans and work with their rescue center, which has also rescued many orangutans from sideshows, and/or kept as pets by the locals.
I am also on the list of volunteer veterinarians, with StreetDogs.org, who will hopefully enter Ukraine and try to take care of many of the abandoned pets and zoo animals suffering from the war. This organization has already traveled to the Polish border during the mass exodus of people at the start of the war.
Animal Defense International has a large compound in South Africa where they also have rescued many lions and tigers from sideshows and traveling circuses from around the world. They have rescue operations going on in many countries and I have volunteered to go mostly anywhere they may need help.
I will still be available online to consult with the office as needed. Some of you have met Dr. Alaina Michel, whom I am happy to announce is learning the alternative medicine programs that I have pioneered over the last 20 years in South Jersey. You will love her. She is great and so enthusiastic! She will be able to be in contact with me for consultation for any cases she needs. In addition, I hope to develop a website so as to be able to talk with you specifically even if I am far away.
Plus, in between these adventures I will return to New Jersey and will work part-time in the practice. I am not leaving totally. I still love my practice and all of the pets and clients. My dreams are to pursue one of my passions, while my health still allows me.
I hope you all understand my life's passion for working with these types of animals and hope that you are happy to see me pursue this goal. I will be sending many photos of my work to the Newkirk Family Veterinarians website for you all to share in my adventures. This is not goodbye. Rather, it's, "Good luck Doctor Newkirk, go for it!"
Doctor Mark Newkirk