Veterinary services

The RZSS veterinary services team are based at Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park. The team is responsible for the general health and wellbeing of all species our charity cares for, contributes to our conservation and research projects and hosts one of Europe’s foremost training centres for veterinary students.

Steph Mota vet doing health check on otter pup

IMAGE: Laura Moore 2022

Animal health

The animals at Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park make up a large and diverse collection of species and as such, present many challenges for the vet team.  

Whether trimming the nails of an Indian rhinoceros or performing an ultrasound examination on a giant African land snail, the health and welfare of the animals is central to the team’s work.

Edinburgh Zoo has a dedicated on-site veterinary hospital, equipped with full operating facilities and diagnostic imaging capabilities including laparoscopy, rigid and flexible endoscopy, digital radiography, and ultrasound. In addition, our in-house veterinary laboratory allows immediate analysis of samples in order to provide the best possible care for our patients. 

Veterinary research

The vet team also takes an active role in numerous specialist research projects and conservation projects led by RZSS.

Management of health and disease is vital in both zoo and wild animals and many of the techniques and treatments developed at zoos can be successfully applied in both circumstances.  

In addition, veterinary surgeons play a crucial role in the reintroduction of native species through pre-release health assessment and post-release monitoring. The vet team have been instrumental in developing and implementing health assessment techniques for native species reintroduction projects including the wildcats (Felis silvestris), Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber) and water vole (Arvicola amphibius)

Steph Mota vet doing health check on lion cub

IMAGE: Laura Moore 2022