Zoo Vet Hopes to Inspire Kids Toward Conservation

Dr. Alexis Moreno is the primary veterinarian at Reid Park Zoo. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a major in veterinary science and a double minor in chemistry and microbiology. She then attended the number one ranked Colorado State University, College of Veterinary medicine where she graduated as valedictorian in 2003.

“Working with animals is a true calling. It is one of the very few professions one dreams about as a child. I grew up on 20 acres at the base of the Rincon Mountains always surrounded by animals. I built forts and lived ‘outside’ as a child. This love of nature and animals was nurtured with unconditional support from my parents,” Moreno said. “My natural curiosity about medicine and constant need for challenge propelled me into the pinnacle of animal care, being a doctor of veterinary medicine.”

After graduation, She then followed a small animal/exotic medicine and surgical internship at Florida Veterinary Specialists and North Bay Animal Hospital as well as an externship at Busch Gardens in Florida. Moreno was later hired as an associate vet, and continued practicing in Tampa Florida.

“My favorite part of my job is all of it! Watching the animals, be animals. Learning from them. Knowing I made a difference in their quality and quantity of life,” she said. “I am grateful to be able to be in the animal care field each and every day I come to work.”

Dr. Moreno returned to Tucson and was hired at Valley Animal Hospital as a staff veterinarian in October 2005. She has been contracted with the AZA accredited Reid Park zoo since 2006 and has served as the chief veterinarian for over 10 years, providing medical and surgical care for their over 600 avian and exotic mammal collection.

“Being a role model is showing boys and girls what and how I do what I do. Telling the story of how I – and ultimately they – can make a difference in the big picture for conservation is my goal,” Moreno said. “I would love all our guests to feel even a fraction of the wonder and humility I feel every day I am in the presence of our animals at the Zoo. If just one person, just one child makes that connection – they will go on to teach and ultimately conserve the animals we are so trying to protect and save.”