Taina Strike ZSL Veterinary Officer
Whilst studying veterinary medicine in my native South Africa, I volunteered at the National Zoo, Pretoria and in various national parks. After 8 years in general practice, I completed my MSc in Wild Animal Health based at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) London Zoo in 1999.
I have worked for ZSL at both London and Whipsnade Zoos as a Veterinary Officer since 2000. My duties include treating all creatures truly great and very small - from ants to elephants - as well as teaching post graduate veterinary students undertaking the MSc in Wild Animal Health and undergraduate students at the Royal Veterinary College.
ZSL’s involvement with re-introduction of endangered species to the wild is well known and I am particularly proud to be part of the team involved with this work. I am also involved in ZSL’s in situ involvement with some of the world’s most endangered big cats, the Sumatran tigers by providing training for veterinarians in Sumatra involved in tiger-human conflict situations. My clinical research work ranges from various aspects of wildlife reproduction and contraception to dietary modification of cholesterol in captive meerkats; investigating the use of cardiac troponin in zoo species and serological testing for haemochromatosis (iron storage disease) in Ramphastids. I have presented papers at many national and international conferences and I am the European Taxon Adivisory Group (TAG) veterinarian for ramphastids (toucans and aracaris) and hummingbirds. I am a founder member of the European Group on Zoo Animal Contraception (EGZAC) and the European Great Ape Heart Project (EGAHP). I am also an honorary lecturer at the Royal Veterinary College.
One moment I’ll be treating a 3g frog, the next a 3 ton elephant! The work is so varied; there is always something to challenge me. Just DON’T ask me what my favourite animal is… I simply can’t choose!