Sonya Miles
Sonya Miles

Dr Sonya Miles BVSc CertAVP(ZM), CertAqV, MRCVS

RCVS Recognised Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine

WAVMA Certified Aquatic Species Veterinarian

Sonya qualified from Bristol University in 2013. In 2015 she started working for Highcroft Exotic Vets and now leads the busy first opinion and referral level department. Sonya became an RCVS Recognised Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine in 2018 and in 2020 she became a WAVMA certified aquatic species veterinary surgeon. In 2020 she created Just Exotics, an on demand webinar platform where her passion for teaching aims to support veterinary practitioners learn about exotic species and how to provide the best possible care for a variety of species. Sonya enjoys all aspects of working with exotic species, specifically reptiles, amphibians and fish. She particularly enjoys performing soft tissue and orthopaedic surgery, as well as teaching her interns and veterinary students seeing practice within the department.

Tariq graduated from the University of Bristol in veterinary science in 2014 and after a year in small animal general practice with some exotics, he embarked on a combined 4 year internship and residency program at Great Western Exotics in Swindon. He gained his RCVS certificate in zoological medicine in 2018 through the University of Edinburgh and passed the final synoptic exam with distinction. He passed the ECZM(Avian) exams in 2021. He presently works in 100% avian and exotic practice, doing 1st opinion and referral work at Valley Exotics, part of Valley Veterinary Hospital in Cardiff, Wales, UK.

A keen aviculturist, Tariq has been keeping birds since the age of 7 when he got his first pets, a pair of budgerigars! He has exhibited poultry, raced pigeons and bred a whole range of different psittacine species over the years and now keeps and breeds Australian pythons, ramphastids and a few psittacines.
Tariq Abou Zahr
Heather Coupe
Heather Coupe

Heather graduated from the University of Bristol , both in 2019 with a Masters degree in Global Wildlife Health and Conservation, and in 2021 with a Bachelors degree in Veterinary Sciences. She was the previous Student President for the European Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians, and veterinary student liaison for the Primate Society of Great Britain. Heather has completed an Exotic Animal Internship at Highcroft Exotics, and is now the newest member of the veterinary team at Paignton Zoo.
Dr Elliott Simpson-Brown MRCVS

Having graduated in 2014, I spent the first five years working in mixed practice, with a heavy zoo and exotics caseload. In 2020 I launched my own mobile zoo and exotics veterinary service in the East of England, and in 2021 joined the International Zoo Veterinary Group (LLP) as one of the IZVG clinicians.
My main passions in veterinary medicine are birds and, in particular, birds of prey. Having grown up working with falconry birds as well as rehabilitating wild birds of prey, after completing an externship at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital in 2013 I was determined to ensure that birds of prey and falconry remained a strong factor in my veterinary work; as well as the wild birds of prey that we are so lucky to get the opportunity to work with.

Elliott Simpson-Brown
Anna Mercer
Anna Mercer RVN APVN (Small Mammal)

Anna is a registered veterinary nurse with a passion to promote excellence in small mammal and wildlife care. She has a keen interest in ferrets and this motivates her ongoing research to be a source for hands-on guidance for this species. She is currently studying towards an advanced program in wildlife which will she hopes will be one step closer to completion of the exotic certification For the past decade, Anna has worked in both the voluntary and private sectors advising and caring for ferrets, along with other exotic species. She completed her nursing diploma at Myserscough college in 2020 and has since focused on ferret care. She enjoys sharing her research and tips on her dedicated social media accounts and blog.

Dr Amy Reynolds

Amy graduated from The Royal Veterinary College in 2019. Since then, she has worked in small animal practice before completing an internship in exotics veterinary medicine at Highcroft Vets in Bristol. She is now a senior member of the team, supporting interns and students at the practice. Her particular interests are small mammal and wildlife medicine. In 2022, she was a finalist for the UK Rabbit Practitioner of The Year Award. Amy is also studying to be an Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine.
Amy Reynolds
Sarah Pellet

Sarah Pellet
VetMB CertAVP(ZooMed) BA BSc(Hons) DZooMed
RCVS Recognised Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine

Sarah graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2006. She has worked in first opinion and referral exotics practices and has completed the RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (Zoological Medicine). In 2016 she gained the RCVS Diploma in Zoological Medicine and in 2017 became an RCVS Recognised Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. Sarah is a vet advisor for the BIAZA Terrestrial Invertebrate Working Group.


Louise graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2011 with a combined degree in Veterinary Science and Veterinary Medicine. Louise has undertaken an externship at the John G Shedd aquarium and during her career, she has been the Vet for Tropiquaria Zoo as well as working with various bird of prey centres, small exotic mammal rescues and wildlife rehabilitation charities (Secret World Wildlife Rescue) and private exotic species in general practice. Louise is now clinical director of Quantock Veterinary Hospital in Somerset where she runs an exotic pet service. She is currently completing an advanced certificate in Zoological medicine. When not at work Louise looks after her own menagerie of reptiles, parrots, chinchillas and some token domesticated animals. The pride and joy of her collection is her Argentine Black and White Tegu Mr. Sprinkles.

Louise Ash
Elisabetta Mancinelli

Elisabetta Mancinelli

DVM CertZooMed Dipl. ECZM (Small Mammal) MRCVS

European Veterinary Specialist in Zoological Medicine (Small Mammal)

RCVS Recognised Specialist in Zoo and Wildlife Medicine (Small Mammal)

Elisabetta graduated from the University of Naples Federico II, Italy, in 2002. Her interest in exotics became clear shortly after her graduation, anticipating a career mainly based on non-conventional animal medicine and surgery. After a small animal focused internship, shes been working solely with exotics since 2003. She undertook an externship in France, mainly based on reptile medicine and then completed an externship program at the Angell Animal Memorial Hospital in Boston (USA), focusing on exotic animal medicine and surgery. In 2007, she moved to UK where she initially worked in private practice and wildlife charities. In 2009, Elisabetta started the first European College of Zoological Medicine (ECZM) Residency in Small Mammal Medicine, which she completed at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh. From September 2010, she holds the RCVS Certificate in Zoological Medicine. In 2014, she obtained the ECZM Diploma, Specialty Small Mammal Medicine and Surgery. She currently works at Valley Exotics in Cardiff.

Claire Speight

Claire Speight


Claire Speight qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in 2007 and completed her City and Guilds Nursing of Exotics species certificate in 2009. She is also an A1 Assessor and Clinical Coach.

Over the years Claire has worked at various veterinary practices, including locuming and in referral, and currently works as a Head Nurse in a first opinion practice with a high rabbit caseload.

Claire is well known on the lecturing field and lectures on rabbits for a variety of CPD providers and organisations, including the College of Animal Welfare, The Webinar Vet, Excel CPD, Evolve CPD and the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund. She has also spoken at both BVNA and BSAVA Congress. Claire is also a regular contributor to several veterinary and client publications, both in print and online, including VNJ, Pet Focus, Vetstreams LAPIS, Pets Radar and Rabbiting On, the RWAFs quarterly magazine, of which she is also the current Editor. She is also a reviewer for the BVNAs magazine, VNJ, reviewing their exotic features, undertakes work for Vetskill and has written a topic on rabbits and rodents of the Australian College of Veterinary Nursing.

Agata Witkowska, BVM, BVS, MRCV

Agata graduated from The University of Nottingham in 2015. With a keen interest in exotics, she spent her final year on rotating placements in various exotic practices around the UK.

Since graduating, Agata has worked in first and second opinion exotic practice whilst studying for the Certificate of Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine. She frequently presents at exotic conferences, lectures on the subject and writes for many hobbyist publications such as The Guinea Pig Magazine, Practical Fish Keeping and The Cage and Aviary Birds Magazine. In 2020-21 she became a lecturer for UK VetMove, a company helping foreign veterinarians start their career in the UK and led the online distance-learning course for SpayAcademy Spain lecturing on the subject of neutering in dogs, cats, ferrets and rabbits. She is also a past speaker for the London Vet Show, BVZS and BSAVA.

Agata is currently based at a small animal emergency hospital in Leeds where she splits her time between soft tissue surgery, exotic animal medicine and leading the laparoscopy department.

Agata Witkowska
Naomi Johns

Naomi Johns

Director at West of England Falconry

Naomi started working with birds of prey at age 15 and after three years working under an experienced raptor handler (and founder of West of England Falconry), finished school to work full time at the centre at the time it was established in Newton St Loe, Bath. West of England Falconry now holds a Zoo License alongside charitable status and has passed each DEFRA inspection with high commendations. Naomi is centre Director and works with a variety of birds of prey, including true hawks, buzzard species, falcons and owls, both in the husbandry and training of captive individuals and in wild raptor rehabilitation.

Alongside flying various species for public education, Naomi is also a practising falconer, hunting with a sparrowhawk and practices falconry for wild raptor rehabilitation.

Caoimhe Hodgins MVB MRCVS

Caoimhe graduated from University College Dublin in 2017. Since then, she has worked across the UK in small and exotic animal practices. Most recently, she has completed an internship with Highcroft Exotic Vets. She is also currently studying towards the certificate of advanced veterinary practice in zoological medicine.

Caoimhe Hodgins
Becky Mott

Becky Mott BSc(Hons) BVetMed MRCVS

After undertaking a Zoology degree and deciding that a life in academia was not for her, Becky graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, London in 2019. She spent the next two years working in small animal and exotics practice in Norwich, finding that she relished her growing exotics caseload as well as mentoring students and new graduates. Her student final year research project investigating the prevalence and risk factors for dental disease in UK bearded dragons was recently published, and she has spoken at UK conferences and student symposiums. She now works in Newmarket at a small animal, first opinion and referral exotics practice, and is undertaking her RCVS Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in Zoological Medicine.

Dr Nadene Stapleton BVSc, MRCVS, Cert AVP

(Zoological Medicine)

Dr Nadene Stapleton graduated from The University of Melbourne in 2000. Since then she has worked in mixed and small animal practice as well as zoo and wildlife. She is an RCVS Recognised advanced practitioner in zoological medicine. She has worked at The Royal Veterinary College's Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital since 2009. Here she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate vets and nurses exotic animal medicine and surgery. In 2021 she received the UK Rabbit Practitioner of The Year Award.
Nadene Stapleton
Helen Inzani

Helen Inzani MA VetMB MRCVS

Helen graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2018, with a combined degree in Veterinary Medicine and Zoology. She worked in Norfolk in an exotics and companion animal practice, before starting at Cambridge Veterinary Group in 2019. Here she continues to work with exotics in a first opinion and referral level exotics department, alongside zoo work. She is currently working towards her advanced certificate in exotic animal practice.
Helen has a love of all exotic/zoological species and is keen to work with other veterinary professionals to improve the quality of exotic animal practice.

Esme Morishima

Esme graduated from the University of Bristol in 2019, after having studied for degrees in both veterinary medicine and zoology. During her studies she worked at a range of zoos across the UK, and completed a course in South Africa. She has since spent two years working in general practice before completing an exotics internship at Highcroft, and is now working towards her RCVS certificate in advanced practice and zoological medicine. She is aiming to continue working exotic pets for the forseeable future.
Esme Morishima
Michaela Betts

Michaela Betts

Michaela graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2018, where she spent her clinical years rotating through various placements and externships at different exotic animal referral centres. She is currently based at Suffolk Exotic Vets and works as a first opinion and referral exotic animal clinician. Always looking to further develop her skills, Michaela is currently part-way through completing her RCVS Certificate of Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine. She is a member of both the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians and the British Veterinary Zoological Society, the latter of which she volunteers for with their website team. She has a particular clinical interest in small mammals, with an especial fondess for rodent species

Verity Jones RVN, BSc (Hons) NCert (SAN)

Verity qualified in 2017 from the RVC and has worked in small animal practice since 2013. She grew up with a small menagerie which started her small love affair with rodents, mostly guinea pigs, hamsters and gerbils. Exotics work has always been a strong interest and led her to being adopted by a motley crew of rats and reptiles over the years. This motley crew has kept her busy and fuelled her research into improving the care and treatment of exotics when in practice. Outside of work, Verity likes to hit the gym, especially weight lifting, and undertaking creative projects for her LARP group which keeps her busy during the weekends.
Verity Jones