American Association of Zoo Veterinarians presents Emil Dolensek Award to Bonnie Raphael DVM, Dipl. ACZM

Bronx, NY – Nov. 12, 2013 –
The American Association of Zoo Veterinarians has honored Dr. Bonnie Raphael, a veterinarian at the Bronx Zoo, as the 2013 recipient of the Emil Dolensek Award.

The prestigious award was created in honor of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s former Chief Veterinarian Dr. Emil Dolensek after his death in 1990. The prize recognizes members of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians who exemplify the ideals of Dolensek’s commitment to the care and conservation of animals in zoos and in the wild.

Dr. Raphael, Department Head for the Clinical Department of WCS’s Zoological Health Program based at the Bronx Zoo, is the 20th recipient of this award and joins an elite group of previous honorees.

The award was announced in October at the annual meeting of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians held in Salt Lake City.

“Dr. Raphael has made significant contributions to the medical and surgical care received by zoo species and to the conservation and health of wild animal populations,” said Dr. Paul P. Calle, WCS Chief Veterinarian and Director of the Zoological Health Program. “She has an unquestioned commitment to animal welfare, conservation, and the veterinary profession. Her high ideals, ethics, and standards in veterinary medicine are well worthy of recognition through this award.”

Dr. Raphael completed a residency in Laboratory Animal and Wildlife Medicine at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and attained Diplomate status in the American College of Zoological Medicine. She worked at the Dallas Zoo as senior veterinarian before joining the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Zoological Health Program based at the Bronx Zoo where she is responsible for the medical and surgical care of the animal collections of the Bronx, Central Park, Queens, and Prospect Park Zoos, and the New York Aquarium.

Dr. Raphael’s career achievements include, but are not limited to, leadership roles in AAZV; veterinary advisor for the American Zoo and Aquarium Association okapi and radiated tortoise Species Survival Plans; teacher in the AZA Crocodilian School; Veterinary Advisor to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Iguana Specialist Group and Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group; Turtle Survival Alliance Scientific Advisory and Field Conservation Committees; and author or coauthor of over 100 book chapters, peer reviewed publications, chapters in SSP and Taxon Advisory Group publications, and conference proceedings presentations and abstracts.

She has played a major role in performing health assessments and evaluations of free-ranging species and those in conservation programs in range countries. These have included anesthesia of southern sea lions in Argentina and Przewalski horses in Ukraine; , radiotelemitry projects involving African rock pythons in Cameroon, peccary in Bolivia, and montane rattlesnakes in Mexico; reproductive physiology of suni antelope, elephant, and lion in South Africa; health assessments of radiated and spider tortoises in Madagascar, a number of West Indian rock iguana species throughout the Caribbean, flamingos in the Bahamas, and Burmese star tortoises in Myanmar; Chinese alligator releases in China; as well as at home working with endangered bog turtles andshe has transported threatened and endangered species to US zoos from range countries as part of rescue operations.

“Dr. Raphael’s career achievements in the care of animals in zoos and in the wild exemplify the ideals of the Emil Dolensek Award,” said Dr. Calle.

Max Pulsinelli – 718-220-5182;
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays, 5:30 p.m. weekends from April to October; 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m November to March. Adult admission is $16.95, children (3-12 years old) $11.95, children under 3 are free, seniors (65+) are $14.95. Parking is $14 for cars and $16 for buses. The Bronx Zoo is conveniently located off the Bronx River Parkway at Exit 6; by train via the #2 or #5 or by bus via the #9, #12, #19, #22, MetroNorth, or BxM11 Express Bus service (from Manhattan that stops just outside the gate.) To plan your trip, visit or call 718-367-1010.

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on earth.If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: