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Derby vets help save African animals

Two vets and an equine nurse have given up their time this Christmas to fly to Rwanda, the Gambia and the Maldives, to support international charities who care for a variety of animals from donkeys and cattle to turtles, by providing on-the-ground veterinary expertise and training.

Scarsdale Vet’s Robert Howard (farm vet, volunteering in Rwanda), Marie Rippingale (senior equine nurse, volunteering in The Gambia) and Karen Davis (partner and small animal vet, volunteering in the Maldives) are all spending two weeks visiting countries supporting charities Send a Cow, The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust (GHDT) and the Olive Ridley Project.

The two vets and equine nurse, who between them bring over 40 years of experience, provided high quality veterinary care to sick or injured animals and delivered training for local people and vets, to help them best care for their animals in the future.

Robert has just returned from Rwanda (Eastern Africa), where he worked alongside charity Send a Cow, which is helping to establish a thriving rural agricultural sector in Rwanda.

As Robert Howard explains: “For me it was really rewarding to see the huge benefits that sharing knowledge, support and education can bring to a community.”

Upon returning from the Maldives, Karen Davis says: “We had one rescue of a young turtle that had been spotted by a dive boat. It had lost one back flipper and we amputated a severely traumatised front one.

“The aim is always to re-release these animals altogether. Occasionally this isn’t practical if they have lost two flippers on the same side. Teaching the injured turtles to swim and dive after amputation can take months. I took two turtles into the ocean to help with swimming lessons.”

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