WCS Animal Hospitals

Wildlife Health Center Photo
A veterinary technician and veterinary technician student decipher a monkey x-ray at Central Park Zoo's wildlife health facility.
Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

When Dr. Reid Blair operated on a Mexican grizzly bear at the Bronx Zoo in 1904, he performed the surgery outdoors on a wooden table. By 1916, Dr. Blair, the zoo’s first full-time veterinarian, was operating within the walls of a fully equipped animal hospital--the first zoo hospital in the world. This, then state-of-the-art facility marked the dawn of WCS’s unwavering commitment to the health and wellbeing of its wildlife collection. The dedication of our vets remains unchanged, and during the past 100 years, WCS hospital care has come a long way.

The Wildlife Health Center – Bronx Zoo

Within the Bronx Zoo’s 26,000-square-foot Wildlife Health Center (WHC), our vets now diagnose ailments via endoscopic procedures, X-rays, ultrasounds, and an in-house clinical laboratory. When further treatment is necessary, the facility offers minimally invasive surgeries (laser surgery, laparoscopy, and microsurgery), dentistry, and intensive care. The surgical prep and scrub rooms, diet kitchen, clinical wards, and recovery room keep our animal patients clean and comfortable. The WHC has a pharmacy and expanded necropsy facilities. Plans for a new Special Care Unit for isolation and quarantine are under development to ensure diseases are not spread among our animals.

In addition to the 24-hour WHC, each of the City zoos—Central Park, Prospect Park, and Queens—operates its own clinic for on-site care.

Aquatic Animal Health Center – New York Aquarium

The New York Aquarium’s Aquatic Animal Health Center is well suited for our marine animals. Prior to summer 2008, animals sometimes had to travel from the aquarium at Coney Island to the Bronx for medical care. Now, aquarium vets perform complex diagnostic, surgical, and follow-up care in their own 15,000-square-foot medical and research center. Water quality analyses, along with microscopy and hematology, take place in a sophisticated clinical laboratory. Staff can maneuver radiographic equipment on a rail in the surgical suite, use an x-ray or radiograph machine to peer at the organs of amphibians and fish, and monitor mammal pregnancies with ultrasound. Isolation wards feature five-foot-deep pools that hold mammals in freshwater, seawater, or brackish water. The center is equipped with a 706-square-foot pool, decontamination room, diet kitchen, and pharmacy, and occasionally houses rescued stranded marine animals.

From the Newsroom

WCS’s Bronx Zoo Breaks Ground on Two New FacilitiesOctober 6, 2010

The LaMattina Wildlife Ambassador Center and Special Care Unit of the Global Center for Wildlife will help WCS continue its mission of connecting people to nature and ensuring exemplary care for animals.

Fubo Gets a Brain ScanMarch 26, 2009

The Wildlife Conservation Society thanks The Brain Tumor Foundation and its “Road To Early Detection” campaign for their assistance in scanning the brain of a gorilla at the Bronx Zoo.

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