Dr Leanne Wicker is the Senior Veterinarian at the Australian Wildlife Health Centre, Healesville Sanctuary, Zoos Victoria, where she guides the clinical approach and research on the veterinary care and welfare of Australian native wildlife in captivity, during rehabilitation and in the wild.
A lifelong passion for nature and the great outdoors led Leanne to a Bachelor of Science, majoring in marine ecology, before moving into veterinary medicine, graduating from the University of Sydney in 2003. During her time in mixed private practice she developed a love of wildlife medicine, providing veterinary assistance to marine mammal strandings and threatened species programs in Tasmania, working with wildlife carers and rehabilitating orphaned and injured native mammals and birds. Since 2006, Leanne has focussed on conservation medicine and wildlife welfare, working with species ranging from Weddell Seals in Antarctica, bears, small carnivores, turtles and primates in Asia to the unique array of wild animals here in Australia. She helped to establish the first rescue centre for trade confiscated pangolins in Southeast Asia, remaining an active member of the IUCN-SSC Pangolin Specialist Group and a board member of Vietnamese NGO ‘Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. For her Masters of Veterinary Science thesis she conducted research on the veterinary care and diseases of trade confiscated and captive born Viverridae (civets) in Vietnam.
Leanne is driven to understand the potential impacts of health and welfare issues on wild species conservation, and improving the application of the ‘One Health’ approach to human, animal and environmental management to ensure a future rich in biodiversity and diverse ecosystems. She recently joined the committee of management of Wildlife Health Australia, sits on the Executive Committee of the Victorian branch of the Australian Veterinary Association and is a long-term, active member of the Australasian Wildlife Diseases Association.