Ever since graduating from Bristol Vet School in 1996, Steve Leonard has combined working as a small animal vet with being a TV wildlife presenter, filming documentaries around the globe for the BBC, ITV and Animal Planet. It all began when the BBC followed the lives of several final year veterinary students for the very popular ‘Vet School’ series. Shortly after that came a chance to travel round Southern and Eastern Africa and work alongside experienced wildlife vets for the BBC’s ‘Vets in the Wild’. Twenty years and many programmes later, Steve is still passionate about his small animal practice in England, but is happy to use his extensive experience of wildlife medicine whenever he can.
During his travels, Steve has been struck by how little veterinary care is available to endangered species. When WVI was founded to help address this problem, he was delighted to become a patron.
Steve has a special interest in African painted dogs and is also a patron of Painted Dog Conservation, WVI’s partner on the ground in Zimbabwe. With his knowledge of disease and injury in domestic dogs, together with his ability to castrate a dog on a table under a tree out in the African bush, Steve was the perfect choice to be WVI’s vet on the ground for our mobile clinics in Zimbabwe. The clinics are a chance for local people to get domestic dogs vaccinated, which not only reduces the risk of disease to the wild painted dogs, but improves the general health and welfare of pets and humans too.
In 2014, Steve was able to film another of WVI’s projects for the BBC’s Operation Wild, when he went to India to visit the clinic run by our partner organisation, the Jivdaya Charitable Trust. This was a chance to show the work of WVI’s avian expert, Johanna Storm, as she and local staff and volunteers worked to save thousands of birds injured during Gujarat’s annual international kite-flying festival.Read more about Steve’s work on his website.