OPERATIONAL  TEAM

DIRECTOR 
DR HAMISH CURRIE

Hamish is a veterinarian who qualified at the University of Pretoria in 1974

One of the pioneers of zoo reintroductions in Africa, Hamish Currie has driven the Back to Africa projects. He travels extensively worldwide and has forged many relationships with zoological institutions and conservationists on the African continent. He delivered papers at the CBSG and WAZA conferences in Taipei, New York and Cologne. Hamish engineered the movement of the last northern white rhinoceros from the Czech Republic to Kenya as well as Back to Africa’s antelope projects.

In 1994 he completed Wild Life Chemical Immobilization course in the Kruger National Park and then the Advanced Course in Wild Life Chemical Immobilization and Field Practice in Skukuza  in the Kruger National Park in 2020

He has a special interest in diseases of wild life and the adaptation of captive wild life to the wild.

He lives part of the year in Hoedspruit Limpopo province where he assists veterinary teams involved with wild life management. This often involves the preventative dehorning of rhinos and the treatment of rhinos that have been shot and wounded in attempted poaching incidences.

Phone: +27839479745 

Email: backtoafrica@iafrica.com

Address: c/o Alphen Veterinary Hospital, Constantia Rd,  Constantia 7806

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DIRECTOR 
DR JOEL ALVES

Joel is a wildlife veterinarian who started out his career in 2018 under the tutelage of the great Dr Cobus Raath with WildlifeVets.com. In 2020, along with his colleague Dr Ben Muller, he started a new adventure with WildScapes Veterinary & Conservation Services and looks ahead to a future of work in the world of wildlife conservation with a focus on the aspects that go beyond simply being a veterinarian.

Career highlights include collaring forest elephants in the Republic of Congo with African Parks, placing ossicone units on giraffe in Tanzania with Giraffe Conservation Foundation, working with a net-gunning team catching wildlife across the USA, being a part of the team dehorning over 400 white and black rhinos in the Greater Kruger National Park and having the privilege of thus far working in 8 African countries.

Beyond his passions for predators and pachyderms, research lies at the forefront of his interests having completed an MSc focusing on leopard immobilization and currently assisting in a comparative immobilization protocol in free ranging black rhino.

He is on the board of the Lion Management Forum of South Africa, a member of the African Lion Working Group and the IUCN Giraffe & Okapi Specialist Group.

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DIRECTOR 
DR BEN MULLER

BVSc Wild Life Veterinarian – Ben qualified in 2015 and since then has picked up a vast amount of experience in the wildlife industry while working for wildlifevets.com. The practice serves the commercial and conservation bodies in Southern Africa and Ben has been a part of many clinical cases and also an array of capture and translocation projects. Ben has facilitated over 300 vet students and vets on capture courses in South Africa. His special interests are pachyderms and ruminants.

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SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR
DR JOHAN STEYL

Dr Johan Steyl is a senior lecturer in veterinary pathology at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort. He qualified as veterinarian in 2001 from the University of Pretoria and has since been involved with research dealing with haemoprotozoal disease in African antelope for which he completed his MSc on Theileriosis in Roan and Sable antelope. He received his diagnostic pathology training at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria. As current head of the Section of Pathology,  he is part of a team of pathologists occupied with pre- and post-graduate pathology training, routine veterinary diagnostics and research with special focus and interest in African terrestrial and aquatic wildlife diseases.

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SENIOR ADVISOR
DR MIKE KNIGHT

Trained as a wildlife ecologist, Mike Knight has spent most of his career within South African National Parks. Starting as a scientific officer based in the southern Kalahari researching large mammal ecology, he progressed through regional ecologist, head of Research for inland parks, General Manager for Park Planning & Development, as well as a stint as Acting Managing Executive for Conservation Services. 

He was instrumental in expanding the conservation estate by about 6,000km2  inclusive of three new National Parks, and another of 1,300 km2 around the astronomical Square Array is in the pipeline. His experience is in large mammal ecology, aerial surveys, ecophysiology, park planning and conservation planning in Southern, Eastern and North Central Africa.

Mike Knight’s current position is as Leader for WWF’s Kavango Zambezi transboundary (KAZA) programme, in which his role is to expand the WWF's footprint through cooperative partnerships and influence in this vast African landscape, that offers so many conservation and development opportunities. He Chaired the SADC Rhino Management Group (RMG) for the last 12 years and is currently the Chair of the IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group. 

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SENIOR ADVISOR
DR PETE MORKEL

Peter van der Byl Morkel’s experience includes serving as a State Veterinarian for Kavango and Caprivi Regions; the Wildlife veterinarian with the Namibian Directorate of Nature Conservation and the Game Capture Unit based in Windhoek and in Etosha National Park. 

He has managed the Game Capture and Veterinary Services for South African National Parks in all their parks excluding Kruger. On leaving SANParks, he has worked in the private game industry, before taking up the Project Manager position for Frankfurt Zoological Society’s (FZS) Rhino Project in Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.

 

His responsibilities included rhino monitoring and security, alien plant control, organising the burning programme, water management, vehicle maintenance and workshop supervision, purchasing equipment and managing people and finances. He was also busy with wildlife veterinary work in and outside Tanzania.

After leaving FZS, he has been largely self-employed, providing veterinary support to  Ol Jogi Ranch in Kenya, doing wildlife, cattle and horse work and wildlife work outside Kenya.

His experience largely entails the capture and translocation of African wildlife, having worked in 24 African countries, and he has experience with most of the larger species, especially black rhino, giraffe and elephant. His experience extends to other aspects of wildlife veterinary work including disease management, epidemiology, medicine, surgery and lecturing.

 

He is a member of the IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group, Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group, Antelope Specialist Group, Wildlife Health Specialist Groups, and an Associate Member of International Wildlife Veterinary Services