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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

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.

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
Junior Vice President

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

Conference Organiser

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.
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.
Students liaison

Gianluca Deli

RCVS Recognised Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine

Qualified in Perugia, Italy, in 2009. Since 2018 he is working at a busy 24 hour veterinary hospital in West Sussex (UK) as the lead exotics vet. He has strong interest and experience in complex surgeries, dentistry and diagnostic imaging (ultrasound, radiography).
Passionate about education and wanting to teach, he obtained the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PgC HE), the Fellowship in Higher Education (FHEA) and the General Practitioner Advanced Certificates in Small Mammals (GPAdvCertSMP) in 2022.
He is currently working towards the Certified Aquatic Veterinarian (CertAqV). He has lectured for and regularly speak at the University of Surrey and Plumptom college.
I routinely attend seminars, lectures and International Coferences (never missed an ICARE).

Darren Docherty

RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine

Darren graduated from the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine in 2013, thereafter pursuing an MSc in Quantitative Methods in Biodiversity, Conservation and Epidemiology and an MVetSci in Conservation Medicine. He has worked in exotic animal practice on both a first opinion and referral basis. He has a PgC in Exotic Animal Studies, is a Certified Aquatic Veterinarian through WAVMA and is an RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine. Currently Darren is Director of Animal Health at Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium. Darren has a keen interest in wildlife and conservation, volunteering his free time to provide veterinary support to local wildlife rehabilitation charities.
Journal Club Organiser

Agata Witkowska


Agata is a companion and exotic animal veterinary surgeon. She graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2015 and has worked in a number of exotic animal practices across the UK seeing both first opinion and referral patients. She frequently lectures on the subject of exotic animal medicine and has written many publications on the subject. In practice, she divides her time equally between soft tissue surgery, including keyhole methods such as endoscopy and laparoscopy, as well as exotic animal medicine. Agata is currently studying towards two further qualifications including the Certificate of Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine and the General Practitioner Certificate in Endoscopy & Endosurgery. She writes for many hobbyist publications such as The Guinea Pig Magazine and has presented at many conferences such as BVZS, BSAVA and London Vet Show. Agata is currently based at a busy hospital in Hampshire where she leads the exotic animal department.

Abigail Edis


Abi holds a certificate in veterinary nursing exotics species and a graduated with a foundation degree in vet nursing in 2010. She is currently working the RVC exotic service in London and has been practicing here for over 10 years as a dedicated exotic species Veterinary Nurse. She enjoys many aspects of nursing but is known to have a particular love of guinea pigs. She also loves many larger avian species, particularly waterfowl. She has written various journal articles, published clinical research and has spoken at various conferences across the country. Day to day she teaches the next generation of vet and nursing students practically in the Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital at the RVC.

Georgie Bardsley

RVN ISFM Cert FN Dip VNZS & APVN (zoo)

I qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in 2019 from the College of Animal welfare and currently work full time at ZSL London Zoo. I have several years’ experience nursing a range of species, particularly exotic/zoo animals, and I also hold the Advanced Certificates in the nursing of exotic & zoo species. I have a particular interest in the animal training and behaviour side of things and how this impacts the day to day work from a veterinary perspective, I also really enjoy anaesthesia and understanding how this differs from species to species. I hope to complete a training/behaviour course in the near future. I am a cat lady at heart!

Molly Varga

Lizzie Bailey

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.

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

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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.

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