Whether it’s tracking one of Africa’s most dangerous animals, transporting a sleeping leopard in your lap or moving a herd of elephant, wildlife veterinarians play a pivotal part in the future of biodiversity conservation. The conservation of wildlife through rewilding is impossible without the steady hand and guidance of wildlife veterinarians. Not only are they critical in ensuring the success of operations, but they also help rescue, rehabilitate and treat animals that may have sustained injuries. Upon release, wildlife vets also monitor wildlife to ensure they settle in well.

In 2000, the World Veterinary Association established World Veterinary Day to promote the veterinary profession and recognise the important work that vets do, whether it’s in the field of conservation or household. This is celebrated annually on the last Saturday of April and allows those reliant on their services an opportunity to pay tribute to the immense contribution that vets make to animals, people and the environment. The theme for this year celebrates the efforts of veterinarians, veterinary associations and others to strengthen veterinary resilience and bring attention to this important cause.

Although being a vet is rewarding work, ensuring the well-being and saving the life of an animal can also be incredibly taxing. In acknowledgement of this, the World Veterinary Association has recognised the increasing need to support our vets. To become more resilient and better equipped to handle the day-to-day challenges associated with animal healthcare, vets require support, training and mentorship.

Peace Parks Foundation is extremely grateful to work with Dr João Almeida, a wildlife veterinarian and founder of the Mozambique Wildlife Alliance (MWA), for many years. Along with Dr Hugo Pereira and Dr. Hagnesio Chiponde, who is also part of the MWA team, he has proven to be absolutely dedicated to supporting translocation, monitoring and animal rescue operations. Without these vets, many of these missions would not have been possible.

So, whether you’re a big cat person, a wild dog person or a water horse person, it’s safe to say that all animal and wildlife lovers are extremely grateful for the hard work that vets do to help keep both our domestic and wild animals safe and healthy.

To all the vets out there – we raise our hands, paws and claws to say a big ‘thank you’ for all you do!