Veterinary Service


We would like to introduce our veterinarians John A. Knight, Chris Vanden Wijngaert and Florence Ollivet-Courtois. In addition, we will also be working with the local veterinary service.


Dr. John A. Knight (BVetMed., CBiol., MSB., MRCVS.)

John has worked as a veterinarian in zoo and wildlife management for more than 40 years. During this time he was Veterinary Officer at Regent's Park Zoo, The Zoological Society of London, UK; Manager, Doha Zoological Gardens, Qatar; and Project Director, King Khalid Wildlife Research Centre, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Later, John took on a Directorship at Toovey Lane Consultants Limited, working on zoo and aquaria design and management, wildlife management, leisure concepts and planning.

John is currently a practicing veterinary surgeon, and zoo and wildlife management consultant. He is President of the Guernsey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; Chairman of The White Lion Foundation; and a Trustee of the Anglo-Italian Society for the Protection of Animals (AISPA). He has contributed to the development of animal welfare legislation in several countries and advises many NGOs on both domestic and wild animal management and welfare. In 2015 John was awarded the Chris Lawrence Vet of the Year at the international Ceva Animal Welfare Awards.

For more information about his work click here: Download PDF-CV


Chris Vanden Wijngaert

Veterinarian Dr. Chris Vanden Wijngaert has been in practice for more than 20 years, with great interest in wildlife and special animals.

During his studies, he traveled to Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Zaire, Botswana and Zimbabwe) and ran clinics at the Faculty of Onderstepoort in Pretoria, South Africa as well as the Zoo of Pretoria, Pilanesberg National Park and Natal Parks.

After his studies, he ran an internship with the Zoo of Antwerp for several months. Following that, he worked in a small animal group practice for a year and a half in England, where he was also a member of the Veterinary Zoological Society.

After his military service, as a Reserve Officer Candidate (KRO) with the General Staff Veterinary Service in Evere, he came into a small animal practice which specialized in reptiles and cold blooded animals. He dedicated himself to immobilization (work with dart gun) of escaped, special or dangerous animals.

Several times he returned to South Africa, during one month, to the SAN Parks Game Capture Team, with a base in Kimberly, to capture, spread across numerous South African National Parks from the Cape to the Kalahari and Kruger National Park to capture rhinos, elephants, buffalos, lions and antelopes for transport, blood samples, DNA sampling and to install transmitters. He did this in combination with a course in game capture.

In Belgium, pets (dogs, cats, rabbits and other small exotics and reptiles) are the main activity in the practice. He also works for the Animal Welfare Section for the City of Antwerp, where emergency calls from the police, control and care of the park animals and circus checks are addressed. He receives referrals through the Zoo of Antwerp and Planckendael on a regular basis. He's enthusiastic to assist with the veterinary care of our elephants.


Florence Ollivet-Courtois

Consultant in medicine and surgery for zoo and wildlife animals.

Veterinary Studies
1992-96 Graduated from the Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort (FRANCE)

Veterinary Activities

  • Veterinarian at Paris zoo between 1996 and 2004

  • Veterinary consultant at Thoiry zoo in 1998 and 1999

  • Veterinary consultant for 20 French zoos since 2004

  • Veterinarian of the brown bear reintroduction program in France

  • Veterinary consultant for the fire department

  • Veterinary consultant for zoo renovation

  • Former for police department, zoo keepers, veterinarians, in animal capture, zoo vet medicine, zoo animals transport

  • Expert for wild animal transport

  • Member of the European Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians (EAZWV)

  • Member of the French association of zoo veterinarians

  • Hippopotame, tapir TAG vet advisor


  • Renovation of parc zoologique de Fort-Mardyck (2000-2003)

  • Renovation of parc zoologique de Trégomeur (2007)

  • Construction of parc zoologique de Friguia park (Tunisia)

  • Consultant in Jeddah (Saoudi Arabia) (2004)

  • Construction of zoo veterinary hospital in North Corea (2010)

  • Consultation at elephant breeding center , Florida (USA) (2001)


  • 1993: telemetric study of free ranging wolves in Canada

  • July 1994: University of Gainesville (Florida): zoo and wildlife course

  • August 1995: University of Knoxville (Tennessee): course in exotic department

  • July 2000 and June 2001: Washington National zoo course


  • “Treatment of a sole abscess in an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) using regional digital intravenous perfusion” . J ZOO Wildlife Med Vol 34 N°3 2003 P 292
  • “Ocular findings in a colony of Mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus) from Paris zoo (France)” proceeding of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarian2001
  • « A Quick Overview Of Nile Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) Diseases In Captivity » for the Hippopotamus/Tapirs TAG of the EAZA
  • “Veterinary monitoring of captive- bred scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah) prior to reintroduction in Tunisia” in EAZWV 3rd meeting 2000 proceeding
  • “Amnioscopy and sterilization by endoscopy in a female beisa oryx (Oryx gazella beisa)” in EAZWV 3rd meeting 2000 proceeding
  • “Homonymous hemianopia in a pug with necrotising meningoencephalitis” in journal of small animal practice vol 41 April 2000
  • “Alimentation du ouistiti et alimentation du Wallaby » in la dépêche vétérinaire supplément technique february 2003-04-14
  • « Vaccinologie des animaux non domestiques » : in la semaine vétérinaire September 2004
  • « The rhino with glue on shoes » « La recapture » June 2008
  • “Un éléphant dans ma salle d’attente” Belin March 2012, award : Jacques Lacroix french academy, award Achille Urbain veterinary academy