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About us

Our Council

The British Veterinary Zoological Society is run by volunteers. These volunteers are voted onto a council by the membership at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at the conference. Here we will introduce you to the current council members and let them tell you a bit about themselves.


Senior Vice President

Romain Pizzi

EBVS® European Veterinary Specialist in Zoo Health Management

Romain grew up and qualified as a vet in South Africa, but has been based in Scotland for the last two decades. He has worked with wildlife ranging from whales to snails on five continents in the field, sanctuaries, rehabilitation centres, and zoos. His main focus is on animal welfare and conservation ethics, and he sits on DEFRA’s Animal Welfare Committee, as well as being a trustee of the Animal Welfare Foundation, and is a council member of the British Veterinary Association’s Scottish branch. He is veterinary advisor to the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria Penguin taxon advisory group and common squirrel monkey endangered species program, and is a member of the IUCN Wildlife Health Specialist Group. He has a specific interest in wildlife surgery, having completed his doctorate on minimally invasive surgery of wildlife, and was elected an honorary life member of the human surgeons’ Association of Laparoscopic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland.

Stuart Patterson


Stuart is a lecturer in wild animal health and the course director for Masters programmes in Wild Animal Health and Biology at the Royal Veteirnary College. as well as being the pathway leader for the MSci in Wild Animal Biology. His main interests are in the relevance of disease processes to conservation, and how this changes as existing populations become more fragmented.
Junior Vice President

Natalie Wissink-Argilaga

LicVet CertAVP (ZooMed) DZooMed (Reptilian) MRCVS RCVS Recognised Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine

Nathalie graduated from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain) in 2004. After seeing practice in several exotic/wildlife practices and zoos around the world, she completed a one-year rotating internship at Davies Veterinary Specialists. She was the head of the exotic and zoo medicine department at a practice in bedfordshire for 14 years before moving to Chipping Noron Veterinary Hospital in 2020. In 2010 she passed her RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (Zoological Medicine). In 2016 she obtained the RCVS Diploma in Zoological Medicine with a Reptilian specialty and is also an RCVS Recognised Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. Her main focus is in exotic pets but she is also the head veterinarian for Woburn Safari Park and several smaller zoological collections
Sponsor Coordinator

Sergio Silvetti


Sergio graduated in October 1999 from the University of Milan. He then worked in exotic animal practice in Italy for 10 years. Sergio moved to the UK in 2010 and worked in several first opinion and exotic referral practices. He is currently employed at Manor Vets in Birmingham as Head of the Department of Medicine and Surgery of Exotic Animals. He has lectured at national and international conferences (SCIVAC, BVZS, RWAF) and is co-author of the chapter of Orthopaedics in the BSAVA Manual of Back Yard Poultry.
Sponsor Coordinator

Tariq Abou-Zahr

BVSc CertAVP (ZooMed) DipECZM (Avian) MRCVS EBVS® and RCVS Recognised Veterinary Specialist in Zoological Medicine (Avian Medicine and Surgery)

Tariq graduated from the University of Bristol in 2014. After a year in general practice, he embarked in a 4 year combined internship and residency programme in zoological medicine at Great Western Exotic Vets in Swindon. He gained the RCVS certificate in zoological medicine in 2018. In 2021, he passed the ECZM(Avian) exams and became a board-certified recognised specialist and now leads the team at Valley Exotics, part of the Valley Vets in Cardiff. Tariq is also a keen herpetoculturist and aviculturist and keeps birds and reptiles privately.
Meeting Coordinator

Sonya Miles

BVSc CertAVP (ZM), CertAqV, MRCVS RCVS Recognised Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine

Sonya qualified from Bristol University in 2013. In 2015 she started working for Highcroft Exotic Vets and now leads the busy first opinion and referral level department. Sonya become an RCVS Recognised Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine in 2018 and in 2020 she became a WAVMA certified aquatic species veterinary surgeon. In 2020 she created Just Exotics, an on-demand webinar platform where her passion for teaching aims to support veterinary practitioners for a variety of species. Sonya enjoys all aspects of working with exotic species, specifically reptiles, amphibians and fish. She particularly enjoys performing soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery, as well as teaching her interns and veterinary students seeing practice within the department.

Elliott Simpson-Brown


Elliott graduated from the university of Bristol in 2014. After spending five years working in mixed practice with a heavy zoo and exotics caseload, and volunteering on a small island in the Grenadines, Elliott established his own company providing clinical and consultancy services for falconers, zoos and private exotics clients across the East of England, before joining the International Zoo Veterinary Group (IZVG) in November 2021, now working across the UK with zoological collections and wildlife rehabilitation providers. He also sits on the University of the West of England Animal Welfare and Ethics Sub-Committee (AWESC).

Elliott holds a Guinness World Record for performing the first ever caesarean section in a tapir.


Sarah Pellett

Public Relations & Communications

Mark Naguib

BVMS (Hons) CertAVP (ZooMed) MRCVS RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine

Mark graduated from University of Glasgow in 2009 and has spent most of his career working with exotic pets, wildlife and zoo species. He is based at Battle Flatts Veterinary Clinic in North Yorkshire where he sees a busy caseload of both first opinion and referral cases in practice and provides veterinary services for a number of zoological collections and to a local wildlife rehabilitation centre. Mark regularly works with a wide range of species from mega-vertebrates to fish but has a particular interest in avian and amphibian medicine and surgery. Mark has been involved in teaching of vets, nurses and students both within the UK and abroad and holds the RCVS certificate in Zoological Medicine as well as Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine status.
ZEBRA Representative

Michael Fielding


Formerly Veterinary Surgeon to Blackpool Zoological Gardens. Past President of BVZS, Past president of EAZWV. Current advisory Board member EAZWV. Hon Member BVZS. Hon Member EAZWV. Chairman The ZEBRA Foundation for Zoological Veterinary Education is committed to helping vets and vet students gain skills and experience in zoo and wildlife medicine. We do this through the provision of small research project grants to individuals. These could used be used for elective study as part of a degree or higher qualification, laboratory research – or a project undertaken whilst undertaking a clinical placement in zoo and wildlife medicine.

The Zebra Foundation is a registered charity, funded by the European Association of Zoo and Wildife Veterinarians (EAZWV), the British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) and public donations.

Students liaison

Gianluca Deli

Students liaison

Sonya Miles

Nurse Representative

Adam Gregory

Bsc. (Hons) Cert. HE, RVN, NCert (Anaesth), DMZAA, DipVNZS, APVN (Zoo, Wildlife, Small Mammal, Avian, Reptile and Amphibian) Exotics Head Nurse Lead

BVZS Council

Benjamin Kennedy

Benjamin is currently practicing around Milton Keynes, London and the surrounding areas as a small animal and exotic vet. He has an interest in invertebrate medicine and researches the application of clinical techniques in these species. He runs Invertivet Bearded Vets, a company that is tailored to facilitating veterinary care, telemedicine, and research for invertebrate and exotic species. Through this he has a growing invertebrate caseload.

In addition to his veterinary medicine degree Benjamin has a bachelors in biochemistry and genetics and a master’s in molecular biology and pathology of viruses. Benjamin is involved in multiple societies, including the steering committee of the Veterinary Invertebrate Society and the council of the British Veterinary Zoological Society. Benjamin regularly publishes articles and presents his research at conferences to raise awareness of exotic and invertebrate medicine.

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Become a member

Simply sign up to join us, and you’ll find all the information needed regarding the society on this website. BVZS only exists because of our members, and we would be honoured for you to join us.

Awards & Honorary Members

BVZS has an awards system for a number of achievements, from Honorary Membership Awards to Best Scientific Paper.

The Zebra Foundation

The Zebra Foundation is a registered charity, funded by the European Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians (EAZWV), the British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS) and public donations.

Thank you to our sponsors for their ongoing support

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Memberships available for vets, nurses and students.