Veterinarian on a Mission
In 1932, an energetic young man was hired who would become as much a part of the Zoo as Dr. Harry and Belle Benchley themselves: Dr. Charles Schroeder. The Zoo needed someone to lead the charge in zoological veterinary medicine and research, and Charlie, as he was called, “liked the whole idea of pioneering.” He set about influencing a new veterinary discipline for exotic animals.
It focused on properly treating and caring for animals using preventative procedures, and studying and learning from illness and disease that did occur. The field was so new that he was largely on his own, sailing in uncharted territory. He began writing and publishing papers on his discoveries, contributing to the scientific literature on a variety of topics.
Dr. Charlie Schroeder made a remarkable difference as the Zoo veterinarian. In a time when detailed autopsies, an emphasis on hygiene, and thorough studies of animal physiology and behavior were considered new ideas, he was one of the first to initiate all three.