Steve Leonard - Meet our Keynote Speaker

Monday 05 February 2018


"Mobile vet units are an essential part of rhino conservation"

Meet our Keynote Speaker at this year's spring talk


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We spoke to TV vet Steve Leonard, ahead of our spring event ‘Shades of Grey - Seven Saviours of Black and White Rhino’ to find about more about him and his relationship with rhinos. Steve is well known for his TV documentaries, including ‘Vets in the Wild’ and ‘Vets in Practice’.  


HR: You’re most well-known for working with small animals. Have you had any close encounters with rhinos? Can you tell us what happened?

SL: I’ve had the privilege to work with rhinos on a number of occasions. I’ve walked up to within 10ft of a white rhino and calf in Swaziland, bottle fed a baby black rhino in Zimbabwe and had my whole left arm inside one in South Africa helping the vets there work out what was wrong with her. Rhinos are extraordinary animals to be close with and a massive honour to work with.    


HR: At Shades of Grey we will be raising funds to launch a mobile vet unit, based at Ol Pejeta Conservancy. During your time in Africa, have you ever worked with a mobile veterinary unit either on a wildlife reserve or in local communities?  

SL: I’ve spent quite a bit of time working alongside vets in Southern and Eastern Africa. Big teams with helicopters and all the resources and single practitioners working and living out of the back of a vehicle. I have great respect for what they do and the conditions they have to work in. I’ve also done a number of community clinics vaccinating and neutering domestic dogs to protect them, their owners and the surrounding wildlife. It’s a great way to get the community on board with conservation.      


HR: Why is rhino conservation so important to you?

SL: We are losing so many species from the planet through loss of habitat or over exploitation but the rhino has to be one of the most senseless disasters of recent times. To claw these majestic animals so successfully from the brink of extinction just to lose them again will break the hearts of billions.   


HR: We agree! So what do you think is the way forward to protect this iconic species?

SL: We need to understand the problem politically, economically and culturally. Without global action along the whole supply chain we won’t have a chance of breaking apart this continuing massacre.     


HR: What’s next for you?

SL: I’m very much concentrating on my veterinary career. I’ve recently passed a post-graduate Certificate in Internal Medicine and am loving my clinical work. However if the phone rings and they need me back in the bush I’m sure I can find some time.    


HR: Thank you Steve. We look forward to hearing more about your experiences and thoughts at our event.  


Hear more from Steve and our other inspiring speakers at our Spring Talk;  Shades of Grey - Seven Saviours of the Black and White Rhino on 15th March in London.

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