My career as a wildlife veterinarian and storyteller has taken me to many countries for work on a wide range of species. I enjoy relating stories about the wild animal work, which range from having soldier ants up my shorts and pregnancy checking a lion to giving an enema to a rhino and encounters with a shaman from the Tsaatan reindeer herders in the mountains of Mongolia. I enjoy weaving African and other folktales into accounts of my own experiences with animals.
My first book of non-fiction was Wrestling With Rhinos: The Adventures of A Glasgow Vet in Kenya (ECW 2002). This was followed by The Trouble with Lions: A Glasgow Vet in Africa (UAP 2007). Then came Of Moose and Men: A Wildlife Vet’s Pursuit of the World’s Largest Deer (ECW 2012). I am currently working on the manuscript for a new book about wildlife adventures in Canada. The working title is From Polar Bears To Porcupines: A Glasgow Vet in Canada.
In Africa I have worked in Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa and Cameroon. I have also visited several others in a professional capacity. These include Botswana, Malawi and Tanzania. Among carnivores I have worked on lions, leopards, cheetahs, serval cats, lynx, wild dogs, jackals, hyaenas and bat-eared foxes. I have translocated and treated both black and white rhinos as well as elephants. In more-or-less descending order of size the list of hoofstock that I have dealt with includes hippo, giraffe, Cape buffalo, eland, bongo, wildebeest, waterbuck, oryx, roan antelope, Uganda kob, impala, bushbuck, reedbuck and dik dik. I have also dealt with zebras of both the Grevy’s and Burchell’s species and even a zebrule, a cross between a Burchell’s zebra and a horse.
North American species (other than deer) on which I have worked include all three species of bears (polar bears for six field seasons) grizzlies and black bears. In the Gulf of St. Lawrence and on Sable Island I worked on hooded seals and grey seals respectively. I also had several field trips to work on wood bison in the Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary and the Nahanni Region of the Northwest Territories.
For the best part of forty years I have worked on a wide variety of deer species on four continents. These include wapiti (aka North American elk), red deer, Pére David’s deer, rusa deer, white-tailed deer, mule deer, fallow deer, reindeer, axis deer and moose. The most unusual of the many trips I took to work with members of this family was to the island of Rota in the Commonwealth of the North Marianas where I worked with a deer whose origins were clouded in some degree of mystery. They were probably rusa deer, but that is not known for sure.
For three field seasons I traveled to the aimag (province) of Hosgvol in the most northern part of Mongolia. There I worked with members of the Itgel Foundation on some of the disease problems that occur in the fully domesticated reindeer of the Tsaatan people. The journey involved many days on horse back, crossing high mountain passes and enjoying the hospitality of these nomadic people in the valley camps where the families moved with their animals.
You can see some of the photos I took on those trips in the Mongolia gallery on the photography page of this site.
My thesis work was on the reproductive seasonality of male wapiti and I was the first person to successfully carry out artificial insemination in any deer species (the white-tailed deer) and carry out the commercial collection and freezing of semen in wapiti and red deer.
All of this deer work is stored in a mental Rolodex for possible use in another book.
For sixteen years I was also employed as a zoo veterinarian and my duties covered the medicine and managemen of a wide variety of captive species.
I was involved in the game farming industry (deer and bison and a variety of African species) as a consultant in many countries for over twenty-five years.
I have published a textbook on deer farming Farming Wapiti and Red Deer (Mosby Year Book 1993) and been an editor on other textbooks related to wildlife and wildlife capture and deer breeding and management. I have over three hundred articles in a variety of scientific journals, conference proceedings, textbooks and extension pamphlets.
I have also published numerous magazine articles, mainly on deer and as a change on a woodworking chess table project.
Here is my abbreviated Curriculum Vitae document. Haigh CV 2013
I had fun writing this article for a journal. It took me back to former times and younger days and connected me with old colleagues. I also attempted some humour in it, which one does not normally find in dry scientific writing. The editors did query that, but I stuck to my guns.