Zoo Veterinarian Guthrie: “Be Fearless”
Amanda Guthrie oversees the care of 10,000 invertebrate and 10,000 vertebrate animals as senior veterinary officer at the ZSL London Zoo, located in Regent’s Park, London.
A Thomas Jefferson Scholar and recipient of the Dean Durward and Shirley Bateman Scholarship, Amanda earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science at CALS in 2001, and another in political science with a minor in genetics the following year. After becoming a doctor of veterinary medicine through the University of Illinois, she worked at zoos from Boise, Idaho, to Brownsville, Texas, before moving across the Atlantic.
How did you become interested in your field of study?
What has been your favorite day of work so far and why?
That’s the importance of the work that zoos do; we are fighting every day to help conserve this planet and the animals, plants and people that share it. These two tigers, who are now over one year old and thriving, are an example of the positive impact that zoos can have. We used that opportunity to educate the public about the plight of the Malayan tiger and I’m really proud to say that we might have helped conserve tigers in some small way.
Tell us a little bit about your research.
I am passionate about the links between captive and free ranging animals, and I believe that we can help save animals in the wild through the work that zoos do. We also frequently fund and participate in research that directly contributes to the conservation of wild animals.
I love when our work comes ‘full circle’ and we can see the positive impacts. I believe it is my responsibility to learn all that I can about helping animals and to disseminate that information so that others might benefit as well.
In what ways did CALS help you achieve your dream?
I remember those times so fondly, especially when we went out to the farm units to work hands-on with the animals. CALS provided me with an excellent foundation, particularly in animal anatomy/physiology and nutrition, which was extremely valuable in veterinary school.
What advice would you give to students who want to follow in your footsteps?
I would tell students that if you’re willing to work hard, that anything is possible. I was told many times that it is difficult to get into veterinary school and it’s especially competitive to become a zoo veterinarian, but I didn’t let that stop me. I knew I would work harder than anyone else to make my dreams come true, and that has really paid off for me. I also believe very much in seizing any opportunity that is presented to you and to be fearless in your endeavors to be successful.
This post was originally published in College of Agriculture and Life Sciences News.