Chief Executives Blog

February 7, 2014 § Leave a comment



In an interesting update from RZSS’ veterinary department, Romain Pizzi spent part of last week with Professor Rowan Parks from Edinburgh University, one of the UK’s top pancreatic surgeons, observing human surgery. While pancreatic disease is unusual in many animal species, in giant pandas it appears to be of major importance, with 15% of wild panda deaths in China between 1938-1992 being diagnosed due to pancreatic disease (more than one in seven pandas). This is a great example of how our veterinary surgeons are collaborating with a wide range of experts in different disciplines as part of the long term aim of improving the care of giant pandas worldwide.

Continuing with vet news, while it is more common for veterinarians to apply experience and knowledge gained from their human medical colleagues to the unique and different situations across the breadth of animal patients, the reverse is also possible with veterinary perspective and experience sometimes helping with human medicine. Romain recently helped establish a trial cross-discipline surgical training course in London, where veterinary and medical trainees learn together in a complementary manner to enhance both groups learning. This means that what our vets learn can sometimes help human medicine advancement as well.

To hear more about the ground-breaking work of our vet team, I recommend coming along to the annual Vets Talk at Edinburgh Zoo’s Education Centre on Thursday 27th February. This talk is always very popular so I recommend booking your place soon! More information can be found on our events page.

I would also like to congratulate our Discovery & Learning team, who delivered 11 outreach sessions to over 300 people in January. Edinburgh Zoo’s educational outreach programme, Beyond the Panda, is aimed at students in primary levels 5-7 and raises awareness about giant pandas, the history of China and the importance of taking action to save the species from extinction. The programme is proving to be very popular and on Friday 14th February it will be Skyped live to a school in Turkey from Doon Academy, East Ayrshire, where it is being taught.


After the enormous success of Edinburgh Zoo Nights in 2013, I am very pleased to say that it is returning in 2014! This year there will be four adults only evenings at Edinburgh Zoo, with the first on Friday 23rd May, followed by Friday 6th June, Friday 20th June and Friday 27th June. Edinburgh Zoo Nights won Best-In House Event at the 2013 Scottish Event Awards – an enormous achievement for an event’s inaugural year – and with even more live entertainment and performers, this year is going to be even better. Tickets are on sale now and money raised from Edinburgh Zoo Nights will go towards the Society’s range of conservation projects.


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