National award for Bristol Zoo Gardens’ vet

Bristol Zoological Society vet Richard Saunders has won a prestigious national award.

Richard has been named Vet of the Year at the Ceva Awards for Animal Welfare in a ceremony in Birmingham.

The awards, now in their ninth year, are held to celebrate the achievements of people who go above and beyond to better the lives of animals around the world.

Richard, who is a specialist adviser for the animal charity the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund, received his award for his work to help protect domestic rabbits from the disease RHD2 (Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease) which spread to this country from France two years ago.

He said: “We have a wild population of rabbits which act as a pool of infection and we cannot get rid of this disease but we can help prevent it by education and biosecurity. Hopefully in time vaccination will roll out to all pet rabbits.”

Richard, who has worked at Bristol Zoo for the past 10 years, added: “I’m excited for me and for the charity to have won this award and it is good to see a species which is under represented recognised.”

There was also an award for former Bristol Zoo vet nurse Adina Valentine. She worked at the Zoo for two years until 2012 and was named Vet Nurse of the Year for her work with the Asian Species Trust helping bears in China and Vietnam.

Richard said: “It shows that her work here was really valuable in enabling her to progress.”

Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the Zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.


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