Janine Meuffels


Camilla Smyth


Laurenz Krüger


Eduard Roos


Prof. Michele Miller



Friederike Pohlin, MRCVS, MSc, PhD Candidate, resident ECVAA


I am Fidu, a vet from South Tyrol Italy. I have been an animal nut ever since I was little and thus, completed a veterinary degree at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna. Following this, I gained some wildlife veterinary experience during a 6 month Professional Veterinary Internship at the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic providing care for injured, neglected, and orphaned wildlife.

My profound interest in the ecophysiology of wild mammals, preferably those fermenting with their hindgut, led me back to Vienna where I completed an MSc-degree in Wildlife Ecology and Wildlife Management at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences. In my research, I assessed seasonal “stress” in free ranging Przewalski’s horses (Equus ferus przewalskii) by measuring heart rate variability. At the same time, I gained valuable clinical veterinary experience by working in mixed/equine- and small animal practice.

Now, I am specializing in veterinary anaesthesia and analgesia and am enrolled in the PhD programme at the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences of the University of Pretoria, South Africa. My project investigates the effects of transport on animal welfare in black- and white rhinoceroses.

As the former EWDA Student Chapter Country Representative Austria, I am very motivated to continue promoting the objectives of the WDA among fellow students in Southern Africa. As the human influence on natural systems is growing, the susceptibility for disease in wildlife is increasing- threatening species. Interdisciplinary networking and collaboration are crucial for animal research and conservation and should be promoted amongst students.


Janine Meuffels, MRCVS, MVSc, BVSc, PhD candidate

Hi, I am Janine, a PhD student from the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Pretoria.
I graduated as a veterinarian with a great interest in the different areas of wildlife conservation and medicine from Ghent University. As a consequence, I have participated in a range of wildlife related internships, courses and projects, including captures, translocations, rehabilitation, veterinary treatment, reproductive work, and castration and vaccination programs of domestic animals for the reduction of disease transmission to wildlife in interface areas in Southern Africa, Europe and the US.
In addition to my PhD program about genetic rescue and biobanking in rhinos and elephants, I currently work as a CCS veterinarian at the Department of Animal health with a focus on cross-species disease surveillance and control.
I have been a member of the WDA for a couple of years, and have presented on a lecture evening of the WDA student chapter Austria, a wildlife Symposium in Ghent with a focus on student career opportunities and wildlife conferences.
With my application as vice president, I intend to assist the president with communications and the organisation of meetings, student workshops, field trips and lecture events according to the mission of the WDA: to acquire, disseminate, and apply knowledge of the health and diseases of wild animals. Additionally, I hope to be able to help interested students with career options, intern-/externships, post-graduate opportunities and with the necessary connections.


Isabel Callealta, Lic. Med. Vet., PhD Candidate

My name is Isabel Callealta and I originally come from Spain, where I qualified as a vet in 2008, and worked in small animal practice (primarily with domestic cats) for about six years. However, research is what really makes me vibrate, and I have always been mad about wildlife… Thus, I had to come to South Africa!!! My main research interests are diverse, ranging from the management and conservation of the different species, to the amazing world of endocrinology and reproduction, which is my ultimate passion.
I am currently enrolled in a PhD programme at the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences of the University of Pretoria, happily and thankfully supervised by Professor Andre Ganswindt and Dr Imke Lueders. My project targets wildlife management, breeding, and conservation, by researching into the African lion reproduction physiology and the application of new biotechnologies, such as artificial insemination, within this sector.
I firmly believe that to be successful, conservation must be multifaceted, and we all should work based on the axiom of sharing knowledge and spreading the word. That is exactly why I am so excited to start this new adventure with the SA WDA Student Chapter (UP) team. Let’s see how far can we go!


Camilla Smyth, BSc (Applied Biology and Genetics), BSc (Med)(Hons) Exercise Science Candidate

Hi, my name is Camilla and I’ve been an animal and nature enthusiast ever since I can remember. I moved to Canada with my family when I was young so I spent most of my school years there but I came back to South Africa to study after finishing high school. I have just finished my undergrad degree in applied biology and genetics at the University of Cape Town, and I’m currently doing an honours degree in exercise science. I am then planning to go into the conservation biology field, with a focus on large mammals. I am also very interested in stress physiology and the effects of climate change on habitat suitability for different species. I am very excited to be a part of the Southern African WDA Student Chapter and promote what it advocates for.


Laurenz Krüger, BVSc

Lucky for the young boy he was found.

Spent 7 years in a small ant mound.

He brought the mother blackmamaba so much joy.

He grew up to be known Blackmambaboy

Laurenz, from Zimbabwe, recently graduated from the University of Pretoria, Faculty of Veterinary Science and is currently in his CCS year.


Eduard Roos, BSc (Zoology), PhD

I am an avid and curious lover of the natural world, since an early age, and completed my undergraduate studies in Zoology at the University of Pretoria. Here I had the opportunity to be part of the mentorship program in my final year, under the guidance of Prof Armanda Bastos, working on African swine fever under BSL-3 conditions. Next I moved to the University of the Free State (UFS) where I completed a BSc. Hons. Zoology at the Qwaqwa campus studying the phylogenetic relationships of haemoparasites in the local lizard population. My supervisors at UFS were Dr Johann van As and Prof Oriel Thekisoe.

I started my MSc. Molecular Biology at Stellenbosch University under the supervision of Prof Michele Miller and Dr Sven Parsons in 2015 and in 2016 upgraded the project to a PhD. The main focus of the project was to search and identify different molecular diagnostic methods that are able to detect Mycobacterium bovis (Bovine TB) in Phacochoerus africanus (Common Warthog) as well as looking at the phylogenetic relationship of the bacteria.


Prof. Michele A. Miller, DVM, MS, PhD, MPH

Has a PhD in veterinary Immunology and has worked as a clinical wildlife veterinarian at a number of zoos and as a conservation medicine researcher. She holds the NRF SARChI Chair in Animal Tuberculosis and her current research focus is the immunology, epidemiology, management and control of tuberculosis in animals and those aspects that impact the human-animal interface.

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