Wildlife Surgery International was founded by specialist wildlife veterinary surgeon Romain Pizzi BVSc MSc PhD DZooMed DipECZM MACVS(Surg) FRES FRGS FRSB MRCVS, is one of the worlds leading experts in wildlife surgery, with a particular interest in minimally invasive, so called “keyhole” surgery. He has operated on everything from tarantulas to elephants, on five continents. He has performed numerous world first wildlife surgical procedures, is widely published, and his work has featured on the BBC, National Geographic, and Animal Planet.
The charities work has featured in a host of news items on TV and in the print media
Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) are kept illegally for bile farming in Vietnam, and are classified as vulnerable by the IUCN. Bears are “milked” for bile, used in traditional Chinese medicine, by repeated needle puncture of the gallbladder, or by use of an indwelling catheter, or creation of a fistula. Bears rescued from bile farms have demonstrated a very high incidence of gallbladder and liver disease related to the practice of “milking” bile, and previous studies have shown almost half of fistulated bears later died of liver and gallbladder tumours, believed a consequence of the chronic inflammation and infections caused by invasive bile collection techniques. Even in non-fistulated bears, almost all bears have chronic cholecystitis (infection/inflammation of the gallbladder). Many rescued bears in a number of charities in Asia have had to have a cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) performed by open abdominal surgery to remove a diseased gallbladder, and to try prevent the later development of malignant liver and gallbladder tumours.