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Cheetah exam

Our animals are in knowledgeable hands.

Fewer than 250 veterinarians in the world can call themselves diplomates of the American College of Zoological Medicine (ACZM), and we are honored to now have two on our staff! Dr. Kyle Donnelly, who has been with us since August, joins Dr. Trevor Zachariah, our longtime director of veterinary programs, as a recognized specialist in zoological medicine.

October 18 and 19 may have been typical days for most, but Kyle spent those days at San Diego Zoo Safari Park taking a rigorous two-day exam. To even qualify for the exam, applicants must meet thorough credentials such as authoring at least three publications and completing a three-year residency under an ACZM diplomate (or a six-year alternative track under a diplomate).

Candidates must pass day one of the examination process (which covers the medicine of all nondomestic animal taxa) to make it to the second phase. Day two is a certifying exam, which includes multiple-choice, essay and open-ended questions about general zoo medicine.

Although this certification is not required for veterinary professionals, it is a big deal in the field of zoological medicine. The exam’s pass rate is low, and it’s even lower for first-time test takers like Kyle.

Her motivation for becoming ACZM-certified was a drive to “practice at the top level of the field.” Passing the exam, which she spent over three years studying for, has been a lifelong goal of Kyle’s.

We could not be prouder to have two ACZM diplomates taking care of our animals here at the Zoo. Congratulations, Kyle!