Dr David Roberts from the University of Kent, provided a new insight into the rising levels of international wildlife trade present on social media, it was fascinating, even if a little daunting to hear the scale of the matter As the 4th largest source of crime globally, behind the likes of human trafficking and arms trade, it is clear that governments should be prioritising law enforcement in this area.
This responsibility of vets to ensure we are fully informed of the legalities of wildlife ownership was also voiced by Rachel Hevesi, the director of Wild Futures. Wild futures are currently running a fundraising campaign to build rescue marmoset facilities to tackle the ever increasing number of inappropriately kept marmosets in the UK. Most surprising to learn was about the issues apparently relaxed regulation taken by government regarding TB in primates as pets or in captivity!
After a break, Duncan McNair, CEO of Save the Asian Elephants informed us of the welfare concerns and challenges which wholly rely upon education and collaborative work alongside communities and mahouts. Though saddening to be reminded of these issues, it is important to raise awareness to prevent tourists unwittingly supporting poor welfare. Duncan made a poignant comment – self-regulation rarely (never) works and it was great to hear how determined he was to ensure our government listened to enforce a ban of the use of elephants in advertising!
It was an honour for us to invite Dr. John Lewis, a founding member of Wildlife Vets International, LUVZS chosen charity this year. John gave an insight into the challenges of years of academic and field research and the lengthy negotiations upon which thankfully, after reading a very lengthy disease risk analysis, have approved John’s Amur Leopard introduction program! He also shared some of his knowledge and fears about the devastating effects of Distemper in tiger populations worldwide! It was amazing to hear about how as a vet (and with extreme dedication!) you could have such a direct impact on the conservation of these beautiful and extremely rare animals!
Liverpool alumnus and travel addict, Ian Ashpole, currently a vet at Chester Zoo came along to talk to us about how he got to where he is now (and some amusing tales along the way!). His journey from leaving the tropics of Liverpool to Oz, the US and Africa and the experiences gained along the way really opened people’s eyes to the opportunities available to new graduates who want to combine travel and career. Ian finished his talk with a few questions, which reminded us all that graduation is still some time off (thankfully!).
Final speaker of the afternoon was our own Dr. Ranieri Verin, who represented the prospects of being a wildlife pathologist by giving a talk based on Cetacean pathology and necropsy techniques. It was great to hear a full spectrum of career prospects
It can be said that most attendees finished the day feeling incredibly inspired, perhaps a little envious, but hopefully more determined than ever to use their degree to achieve their dream! The LUVZS committee hope to see everyone again next year for even more wonderful events!