Virbac Extends Support for Wildlife Vets International

Pine Marten

Virbac has signed up to be a Partner in Conservation for a further three-year period and extended its support to the charity Wildlife Vets International (WVI) by contributing to its involvement in #ChristmasChallenge16, the UK’s biggest online matched funding initiative for charities.

Wildlife Vets International provides veterinary support and skills to conservation workers on field projects to save rare and endangered animals around the world.  Virbac has been a WVIPartner since 2011 and also provides supplies of its Zoletil® anaesthetic to the charity.  It is used by WVI Veterinary Director John Lewis to anaesthetise big cats in the wild.                                                                        

One of WVI’s recent projects is the provision of veterinary support for the Pine Marten Recovery Project. Once the second most common carnivore in the British Isles, pine marten numbers had dropped to near extinct levels in Wales and England. In Scotland, numbers have recovered thanks to conservation efforts.  Ten pairs were released in Wales during 2015 by a team of stakeholders, including WVI.  At least four pairs bred successfully in early 2016 indicating that translocation did not interrupt the breeding pattern. WVI continues to provide veterinary support to the project and, during Autumn, a further 19 animals were translocated from Scotland and released in an area adjacent to the 2015 release site.

Other initiatives which WVI supports include:

  • A campaign to protect the African Painted Dog in Zimbabwe.  Numbers of these dogs have reduced dramatically in recent years. WVI is vaccinating domestic dogs to create a disease barrier and instigating disease surveillance throughout the Hwange National Park area
  • An international effort to reintroduce one of the world’s rarest big cats, the Amur leopard, into the Far East of Russia.  The indigenous population is currently facing extinction with as few as 70 individuals thought to be surviving.

#ChristmasChallenge16 is an online fundraising initiative set to start on #GivingTuesday – Tuesday 29 November 2016. It provides WVI supporters with an opportunity to donate to the Pine Marten Recovery Project and to #doubleyourdonation while doing so.  WVI successfully applied to take part in the challenge, which required it to source matched funding.  Virbac is one of the companies providing that matched funding. 

Commenting on the partnership, David Ellerton, Managing Director of Virbac Ltd, said: “WVI is a leader in the field of wildlife and conservation medicine and its team is frequently asked to tackle new projects and problems. We are delighted to continue to support such a vital part of the conservation network.”

Media vet and WVI Patron Matt Brash added: “It’s great that Virbac, one of our founding partners, has cemented its support by signing an agreement for a further three years.  As endangered species in the wild continue to decline due to the pressures of poaching and habitat destruction, they become more vulnerable to other threats, such as infectious disease. Thanks to the help we receive from companies like Virbac, WVI is able to provide the support and training conservationists and in-country vets need.”

Wildlife Vets International was formed by a group of experienced zoo and wildlife vets in 2004.  Founded by a veterinary surgeon, Virbac is dedicated to supporting the veterinary profession through the development of innovative products and services, which help animals to lead longer, healthier lives.  One of the largest independent veterinary pharmaceutical companies in the world, its wide product portfolio includes many market-leading and award-winning products for large and small animals.