Conservation Medicine


Conservation medicine is the day-to-day medical care of the many species and individual animals at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. With this practice comes a wide range of sciences and disciplines.

The veterinary medical team at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium works with vision and enthusiasm to advance the science of conservation medicine and to provide the information needed to ensure excellent care for the animals in zoos around the world as well as in their natural habitat. Along with an extensive preventative medicine and wellness programs for Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium’s animal collection, ongoing research is an intrinsic part of conservation medicine and may, in the end, be one of the most important contributions to the conservation of endangered species.

The veterinary staff and their research counterparts in the Center for Conservation and Research at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium have worked on a range of projects investigating such topics as West Nile vaccination protocols, successful reproduction techniques in big cats and nutrition requirements in amphibians.

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium’s medical team is a leader in the investigation of new and currently unsolved disease issues in exotic and endangered species. An example of this is the ongoing study of heart disease in male gorillas. The Zoo, working with local collaborators in the medical community, as well as other zoological institutions, has significantly advanced our understanding of cardiac disease in gorillas. We have worked extensively with conservation initiatives in the field around the world, to help make those programs more effective in protecting animals in their native habitat. Much of this work has involved the development and evaluation of new anesthetic protocols in hoofstock and big cats. The team at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has been instrumental in the investigation of improved techniques for the immobilization of large ruminants such as gaur. We have worked extensively to improve anesthetic protocols for great apes, including gorillas and for big cats such as lions and tigers. Anesthetic techniques developed at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium are utilized in field programs to immobilize Amur tigers in Russia and lions in Africa for radio collaring, blood sampling and for disease surveys and other conservation activities.

The conservation medicine team at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium strives to provide the best medical programs possible for the animals in our care and to advance the science of conservation medicine whenever possible.