Inspector of the Year: Veterinary

Michael Nance, DVM, Ellen Trout Zoo

Dr. Michael Nance has been practicing zoo medicine for most of his veterinary career, though he has also worked in private, corporate, and animal shelter practices, as well as at dairies and equine breeding farms.  He graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1988.  He later served as the first staff veterinarian at Lee Richardson Zoo.  He then had the opportunity to serve as Zoo Director for the Heritage Zoo in Nebraska, a non-AZA accredited zoo which had hopes of becoming AZA-accredited but now no longer exists.  Dr. Nance has a unique perspective on both the challenges and privileges of being accredited by our association. He has been serving the Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin, Texas as the Staff Veterinarian for 14 years and plans to be doing so for many years to come. Mike also serves as the Veterinary Advisor for the Louisiana Pine Snake SSP, an honor that resonates deeply with him.  Mike has been volunteering on AZA inspection teams since 2005. His philosophy is that any negative experience by animal, staff, or visitor detracts from the reason we are all in this profession: to help conserve species and to introduce, educate and excite visitors in an intimate, attractive environment about the diverse plants and animals that share our planet. Mike believes AZA accreditation exemplifies that philosophy, and being a member of an inspection team serves to put that philosophy into practice.


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