Half-way through the first rotation block, we had a 2-week EMS 'break' and I headed off to Kent, to Port Lympne and Howletts Wildlife Park! I stayed in the most adorable little 'house', it was basically a summer house at the bottom of a (very rich persons) garden!
I spent two weeks in this idyllic house and enjoying time romping around the two zoo's! In case you don't know, both zoo's are supported by the Aspinall Foundation, a conservation charity.
I can't really discuss details of what I did but.. I have now blood sampled numerous macaques and langur monkeys, assisted with routine dental checks, given various injections and oral medications and vaccinated (most) of the 'small cats' (clouded leopards, pallas cats, fishing cats). I conducted a couple of PMs, did my own PM reports and questioned the vets incessantly! This was incredibly exciting for me (a little, desperate zoo-vet-wannabe), however the most aspiring aspect was just HOW MUCH active conservation the Aspinall Foundation does! Projects across Africa & Madagascar, Java and Europe are established and have released (quote from the website) ''8 black rhino, 49 Javan langurs, 9 Javan gibbon, 11 European bison and over 60 western lowland gorillas.'' Even though these numbers may seem small, their success has a resounding effect internationally and can motivate and guide other institutions to collaborate. If you are at all interested please check out the website for more details or just visit the parks
I had a pretty quiet two weeks at Port Lympne and Howletts, but my friends and family would vouch that I've probably never sounded so excited. I mean, I read papers... like 'proper' academic ones... by choice! Like.. not just the cosmopolitan fashion pages, buzzfeed quizzes or various other tripe I am more prone to reading. But no, I actually wanted to learn the finer details of Eosinophillic granuloma in Black rhino and Toxocara vitulorum in Bison calfs. I can't think of anything better than being the vet to care for hundreds of different species and being instrumental in enabling successful breeding and reintroduction projects!