Leanne is Zoos Victoria’s Wildlife Health and Welfare Advisor, part of an holistic, transdisciplinary approach to wildlife conservation, and aiming to integrate the science of wildlife health and welfare into efforts to safeguard biodiverse ecosystems, ensuring Australia’s wildlife continues to thrive in the wild well into the future. In this role, Leanne works collaboratively with external partners to ensure Zoos Victoria’s research and conservation strategies contribute effectively to state and national priorities for wildlife health and welfare.
Formerly the Senior Veterinarian at the Australian Wildlife Health Centre, Healesville Sanctuary, Leanne has held a diverse range of clinical, research and management roles throughout Australia, Antarctica, Vietnam, Laos and China. She has worked in rescue centres caring for sick, injured, orphaned and trade confiscated wildlife, contributed to the development of recovery programs, husbandry and veterinary care standards for threatened species, conducted health and disease surveillance in free-ranging wildlife, managed the health of captive wildlife in zoos and conservation breeding programs, provided veterinary care to sick, injured and orphaned wildlife, and contributed to the emergency response to wildlife impacted by bushfires in Victoria. Working in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in Southeast Asia the aftermath of the first SARS CoV outbreak in 2003, a pandemic which emerged from the trade and consumption of wild animals for human consumption, has driven an interest in improving our understanding of the impact of impact of human behaviour on the health and welfare of wild animals.
Leanne completed her Masters in Veterinary Science from the University of Sydney, following research on the health of trade confiscated Viverridae (civets and binturong) in Vietnam, and became a member of the Zoo and Wildlife chapter of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Science in 2016 (Medicine of Australasian Wildlife). She is a longstanding and active member of the Wildlife Diseases Association, and the executive committee of the Victorian branch of the Australian Veterinary Association. Passionate about pangolin conservation, she is an active member of the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group and a board member of Vietnamese conservation organization ‘Save Vietnam’s Wildlife’.