Animal keepers, biologists, craftsmen, gardeners, accountants, cooks, waiters, IT specialists … the list of professions at Zurich Zoo is long. We have more than thirty different professional groups at our zoo. However: no vets.
This is quite normal in small zoos. With a small herd of animals, a full-time veterinarian is simply not worthwhile. Therefore, such zoos often collaborate with the local working veterinarians. In large zoos, however, there is usually not just one, but often two or even three zoo’s own vets who look after large and valuable animal populations. Just not with us.
The Zurich Zoo, together with the Langenberg zoo and the Bruderhaus wildlife park, is one of the few zoos in the world that follow a different model. We have a permanent cooperation with the Animal Hospital Zurich. The clinic for zoo, pet and wild animals under the direction of Prof. Jean-Michel Hatt has been looking after our animal population for many years. With his team of highly qualified veterinarians, he is available to the zoo around the clock. Every day a veterinarian from the animal hospital comes to us at the zoo and treats and looks after our patients.
This cooperation has many advantages for both sides, the zoo and the animal hospital. The animal hospital can not only train its veterinarians in the treatment of “normal” pets and farm animals and occasionally an injured wild animal. There is also a wide variety of zoo animals available – from the naked mole rat to the elephant.
For us as a zoo, the high professional quality of the clinic is an important advantage. The clinic employees are among the absolute top people in their field. Year-round coverage also helps us. Summer holidays? Christmas Eve? Tuesday night at 2 a.m.? The team is ready for action at any time. And for the most unusual cases, the animal hospital has a whole range of specialists who are on hand to assist the clinic: anesthetists, ophthalmologists and surgeons, to name just a few examples.
The animal hospital and the zoo have also worked well together for a long time in training. Last week there was even a 50-year anniversary to be celebrated. Whereby it was celebrated a year late due to the corona. For over half a century, Zurich Zoo has been introducing veterinary medicine students to the zoo’s various tasks in modern zoos and the biological characteristics of the llama, giant tortoise, white rhinoceros and co.