Taking care of zoo life

Dr. Logan Wood, veterinarian at Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot, is shown with Wilson, a tortoise found on a log at Lake Sakakawea that was brought to the zoo. "Tortoises can't swim," Wood said. (Eloise Ogden/Minot Daily News via AP)

MINOT, N.D. — Dr. Logan Wood has been the veterinarian at Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot since May 1.

Born and raised at Reno in the Lake Tahoe area in Nevada, he has been interested in science and animals since an early age.

“You name it, I had it as a pet,” he said. When he was growing up and wanted a new pet, he said his mother, a teacher, would have him do a report on the specific animal.

“I would have to do a full book report on how to care for these animals, what it would cost, how much time it would take every day, what the diet looks like, what the care looks like. I’d have to do all of that before I could potentially get that animal,” he said.

Because he lived on a farm, he said he did get the animals he wanted. “I had llamas, green iguanas, snakes, frogs ... I had one frog, an African pixie frog, that was the size of a volleyball. I had dogs, cats and birds. I also had a big-mouthed bass that would jump out of the water and I could hand feed it. I had all these weird, different pets growing up,” he said.

Wood went to undergraduate at the University of Nevada-Reno and studied abroad in South Africa at the University of Pretoria for two years.

“That’s where I really fell in love with conservation and helping out with African animals and wildlife in general,” he said. He said his time in Africa geared him more in the direction he wanted to go in his profession.

From there he went to Colorado State for veterinary school. When he graduated from there in 2017 he stayed on with the Livestock Department for an internship in internal medicine and surgery.

During that internship his major clients included bison and yak producers, some water buffalo clients and he also helped out with a camel dairy and reindeer clients.

After that he went into private practice in Reno. “I did private practice which consisted of your regular dogs/cats as well as all the exotics. I was the only person who would see a bird within 40 miles,” he said. He was the veterinarian for two small local zoos.

When the position at the Minot zoo opened, “I jumped on it and said, ‘Hey, I really want to try something new — might as well try North Dakota,’ “ he said.

Wood already has had a few zoo babies to care for since he’s been here — a baby giraffe, bison, dik-dik and serow. A kangaroo arrived from another facility with a baby kangaroo.

New habitats for the lions and tigers are being constructed at the zoo. The lions habitat will be ready shortly and the tigers habitat completed later. Wood said those facilities will make it much easier for his work with the big cats, the Minot Daily News reported.

He said each of those buildings has a medical den. “If we have to do any sort of procedure — a root canal or anything like that — we don’t have to transfer the animal to the vet hospital. We can do everything within their home which is less stress on them,” he said. He said the new leopard building is also being designed with a medical den.

He said they’re also working on improving the zoo’s veterinary equipment.

As part of his work at the zoo, Wood said he plans to help with the zoo’s outreach program that goes to local schools and do veterinary-related events around the zoo such as a Teddy Bear clinic/emergency room. For example, he said “if Teddy can go to the doctor and get a cast put on,” kids won’t be as afraid if they have to go to the doctor themselves.

While he was in South Africa, Wood said he was able to work with giraffes and do anesthesia on them. Next year a paper he has written regarding giraffe anesthesia will be published through the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine.

He said giraffe anesthesia is difficult and “we’re actually hoping to establish normals because we don’t have a normal for giraffe under anesthesia as far as blood values.” This will further research later down the road, he said. He’s also working on other papers including on American bison.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(1) comment

Samanthapowers

too bad that nightmare catoctin zoo can't be shuttered and the animals moved to much better and professionally managed environments.

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