Luis Padilla

Luis Padilla

Director of Animal Health

St. Louis Zoo

St. Louis, MO USA

You're going to be the happiest in the place that best aligns who you think you are with who you really want to be.


By Roadtrip Nation

Luis Padilla


My road in life took a while to figure out.
Grew up in Puerto Rico and attended college in the United States.
Says that it was a rough transition-he missed his friends, his family, and Puerto Rican food.
He always knew that he wanted to work with animals; attended the veterinary school at Cornell University.
Says that veterinary school was tough; he spent eight years taking very competitive classes, and had to take out multiple loans to fulfill his dream.
While he was at Cornell, someone told him, "the best zoo in the United States is the St. Louis Zoo."
He decided to visit and was struck by how much the workers cared for the animals and their conservation in the wild.
One of his goals was to be "that guy" who could help protect an animal species from going extinct.
Says that there is always more to animals than their appearances, and the same goes for people.
Keep following my journey


Director of Animal Health

I'm responsible for managing the health and care of all our zoo animals from small birds to large mammals.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Environment & Nature
Accomplishing Goals

Day to Day

As the head veterinarian at the Saint Louis Zoo, I am a member and leader of the team that provides veterinary care to all the zoo's animals and to the many endangered species that the zoo aims to protect in the wild. This means monitoring them for any health problems or injuries, administering care, and overseeing the general welfare of all of the animals.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Approach all opportunities with pride and solid ethics and do your best; it may open up future doors.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:


The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"I don't know if the time and money it takes to do this is worth it. "

Challenges I Overcame

Culture Shock
Learning Issues

Interviewed By

Ready to Rise

Ready to Rise

Confronting systemic barriers to success