Colette Fontaine, a Fellow of ZSL for 47 years, decided to continue supporting her favourite cause by leaving a portion of her estate ‘for the benefit of the Zoo Hospital’.
This wonderful gift has directly helped ZSL’s Veterinary Services Department in its commitment to achieve high standards of animal care by funding some vital equipment: an ultrasound scanner; an autoclave; a minus 80 degree freezer; and a specially equipped veterinary vehicle.
Ultrasound scanners significantly reduce the need for invasive procedures requiring general anaesthetics. They are of particular value in reproductive programmes, including those relating to some of our key species such as elephant, rhino, giraffe, primates and reptiles.
Before we received Colette’s gift, we only had one ultrasound scanner for both Zoo sites. The additional scanner with a recording capacity has meant that a scanner can be used on a daily basis at both sites for monitoring the health of our animals. They are also used for training students as part of the MSc course.
The autoclave is used to sterilise equipment by subjecting them to high pressure steam. The new machine is very fast providing a turn around time of just 30-40 minutes to sterilise equipment. This rapid cleaning is essential in an unpredictable zoo hospital environment.
The minus 80 freezer is being used for the storage of pathology specimens so they can be used for future studies and research. It is also used for archive storage of samples from live animals.
The vet vehicle at Whipsnade Zoo served the department well but was very old and beyond repair. The replacement long wheel base Land Rover vehicle enables the vet team to continue to provide an essential mobile clinic for Whipsnade Zoo’s vast site and sometimes difficult terrain.
With the amount of large enclosures and free-ranging animals it is much easier for the vets to go to the animals rather than causing undue stress to them by trying to capture them and take them to the hospital for treatments and routine checks.
Keep your love of animals alive: remember ZSL in your Will