Veterinary nursing students support rhinos and lions

June 2022

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Veterinary Nursing students at Writtle University College are gaining hands-on experience of conservation projects at Welgevonden Game Reserve in South Africa.

During the first few days of their two-week visit to the Biomonitoring Programme's research camp, they have been offered opportunities to support veterinary interventions with a range of animals.

Earlier this week, Welgevonden staff dealt with an emergency when two lionesses broke into the reserve's predator-free breeding camp.

Both animals needed to be safely sedated and removed from the area. Writtle University College's staff and students were given the opportunity to help with transportation.

The following day, students assisted Dr Andy Fraser with a rhino intervention. They worked to monitor an anaesthetised rhinoceros heifer's respiratory rates and welfare while she was treated for parasites, underwent DNA testing and was microchipped.

The procedure was part of the RHODIS scheme, which works to curb poaching and prevent rhino horn trafficking in South Africa.

Kersty Ellis, Deputy Director of Further Education, said: "This is an amazing opportunity for our students to see a side of the veterinary field that we are not able to experience in the UK and, while the animals are very different, the students can still apply the knowledge they have learnt whilst on their course in a real life setting. 

"Our students were involved in monitoring the animals while they are under anaesthesia (under supervision of experts) and also administering medication and taking vital readings and samples to help with the protection of the species."

For more information on Veterinary Nursing apprenticeships, go to writtle.ac.uk/AP-Veterinary-Nursing-Apprenticeships.