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San Antonio Zoo Vet Finalist for National Award

By San Antonio Zoo Communications Team
min read

Dr. Rob L. Coke, director of veterinary care at the San Antonio Zoo in San Antonio, Texas, has been named a finalist for a national award, The Hero Veterinarian. The Zoo is asking the public to show their support for one of Alamo City’s finest veterinarians. The public can vote once per day, until 2:00 p.m. Central Time, 29 July 2021, when the poll closes and a winner is determined.

The Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards seek to honor “veterinary professionals who are dedicated to the betterment of the health and welfare of animals and the promotion of the human-animal bond.” Coke was nominated earlier this year and recently found out he was a finalist for the award. 

“We are extremely proud of Dr. Rob and all his accomplishments,” said President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Antonio Zoo, Tim Morrow. “He has been a staple of San Antonio Zoo for almost two decades, and his knowledge and positive attitude have benefited not only our animals but countless vet staff and animal care specialists alike. Rob is a giant in zoo veterinary medicine and very deserving of this prestigious award. I ask our community to take a moment, vote, and encourage their friends and family to do the same. Let’s bring home a ‘W’ for our local hero!”

Coke will be honored on the 2021 American Humane Hero Dog Awards on Hallmark Channel this fall if selected as a winner. 

“It is such a great honor to be nominated, being selected as a finalist, and getting to show the nation all that we do here at San Antonio Zoo for the animals in our care,” said Coke. “I hope to inspire others to view zoos and the conservation work that they do as paramount to cultivating a future for all animals for the generations to come.”

Dr. Rob Coke and team with a komodo dragon

The complete nomination package reads:

 “Innovation is the trademark for Dr. Rob L. Coke, San Antonio Zoo Director of Veterinary Care. A 1996 Texas A&M University graduate, he leads an 18-person team at the 501c3 non-profit zoo, which had to make fundamental changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. His work is critical in the Species Survival Plan program and, specifically, in the lives of Komodo dragons.

He serves as a veterinary advisor to the Komodo dragon SSP, in which he aids other zoos with Komodo dragon medical consulting. Locally he has been using new techniques to treat the Zoo’s 27-year-old dragon, Bubba.

Bubba has severe degenerative joint disease in his elbows and knees. At the beginning of treatment, he could not walk very well, but after several months of weekly therapy, he has been able to walk much better and increase his appetite.

During the recent winter storm, the worst to hit San Antonio in four decades, Dr. Coke’s steadfast attitude, unwavering commitment, and leadership were instrumental in ensuring the Zoo’s animals were safely cared for in record-setting cold temperatures. In total, the Zoo’s herculean effort resulted in 14 crocodilians, more than 50 turtles, three giant Thai catfish, and 300 birds moved and temporarily re-homed.

His team also answered the call when a local animal sanctuary suffered a devastating crisis and is responsible for saving many primates and other animals’ lives. Dr. Coke has been with the Zoo since 2002 and is an incredibly deserving recipient of the veterinary hero award.”

Photos credit: ©San Antonio Zoo

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