Sheikh’s veterinarian studies birds at Massey


Melodiya Nyela Magno with a New Zealand falcon. 


A veterinarian who looks after a sheikh’s animals in Abu Dhabi has been at Massey University to undertake study on birds.

Melodiya Nyela Magno is currently enrolled in the Master of Veterinary Medicine programme, which requires participants to attend a contact course on the Massey’s Manawatū campus.

To attend, she had to take a break from her job as the head of the veterinary science department for Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, son of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of United Arab Emirates and its first president.

A large part of Miss Magno’s job is concerned with the health care of the Sheikh Sultan’s private collection of animals, which includes Arabian species of dogs, ungulates (such as gazelles), wolves, lions and falcons.

Miss Magno says, “Falconry is ingrained in the culture of the Bedouin people in Abu Dhabi and the royal families take part in hunting trips every year to celebrate the special connection and history with the falcon. The falcons are taken to other countries for training with drones and planes that can teach them how to hunt live prey. We conduct general health assessments before and after the hunting trips,” Miss Magno says.

Miss Magno works under Dr Jaime Samou, Director of Sheikh Sultan’s wildlife division, and credits his example as a driving force behind her seeking further education.

“His Highness Sheikh Sultan and Dr Jaime Samour are both intellectuals and they encourage their staff to conduct research and pursue intellectual advancement through education. Part of the work conducted by our division is in research and I’ve helped with writing papers, but I would also like to write papers of my own and develop my technical skills as well as my critical and analytical skills by studying at Massey.

“Coming to Massey for this contact course has allowed me to get hands-on surgical practice and compare my experiences with the other students in a university setting. I came to Massey because of the accreditation it has around the world and I also like that you can choose what you would like to study.”

The Master of Veterinary Medicine programme is offered by distance only and students choose from a wide range of small animal, large animal, equine, epidemiology and veterinary business papers.

“Studying allows me to increase my capacity to prevent disease and save more birds. Massey will allow me to share the technical expertise I’ve learned, describe it and look at my work critically,” Miss Magno says.

Massey’s veterinary school has been ranked fourth in the world by employers in the Quacquarelli Symonds ranking, and is ranked number 25 for the veterinary science programme. 

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