from Kirkwood awarded for career as a zoo veterinarian | Joe’s Saint-Louis

Dr Thomas P. “Tom” Meehan (Photo by Brookfield Zoo, Chicago)

Provided by Brookfield Zoo

Growing up in Saint-Louis means growing up with a large zoo.

This fact is one of the main reasons why Dr. Thomas P. “Tom” Meehan, originally from Kirkwood, pursued a career in veterinary medicine and decided to practice these skills in zoos.

And that led to Meehan – now vice president of veterinary services at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo – recently receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

“I got my first job at the St. Louis Zoo in 1970, working at a refreshment stand,” Mehan said, adding that he had applied to be a junior zookeeper.

“You couldn’t just apply and get a job as a caretaker. They would put you in the concession stand,” he said in an interview on Monday. “But I guess I did well, because the next year they appointed me keeper at the petting zoo.”

Meehan is best known for his work with primates, especially gorillas. For years he has been a key member of the Great Ape Heart Project, the association said in a statement.

A graduate of Kirkwood High in 1970, Meehan received his bachelor’s and veterinary medicine degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia. During his university studies, he continued to work at the Saint-Louis Zoo and eventually completed his residency in veterinary medicine.

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