Dr. Luis R. Padilla is the Vice President of Animal Collections at the Saint Louis Zoo. Growing up in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, he developed an interest in animals, nature, science and conservation at an early age. After earning an undergraduate degree and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Cornell University, Luis completed a zoo medicine residency at the Saint Louis Zoo, and then worked as a clinical veterinarian at the Oklahoma City Zoo, the Smithsonian National Zoo, and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. His path led him back to the Saint Louis Zoo, where Luis served as Staff Veterinarian and Director of Animal Health before becoming a member of the Zoo’s executive leadership team in his current role. Luis believes that zoos play an essential role in creating impactful connections between people and animals, and facilitate the social awareness needed to conserve and preserve wildlife. Dr. Padilla is board-certified as a zoo veterinarian by the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM), and is currently a member of the AZA’s Accreditation Commission. He has served as an accreditation inspector since 2014.