The Zoo is home to over 350 animals and a huge part of ensuring top-quality animal wellness is providing individualized health care. Most people understand a veterinarian’s role in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of animals but few recognize the hard work and dedication it takes to be a veterinary technician.
The medical staff at the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens is composed of two people—Dr. Bogan, DVM and Falicia, CVT. You read that right—these two are responsible for the medical care of each animal here (imagine having over 350 pets!). This week is Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week and we’re excited to tell you about Falicia.
Falicia grew up with a love of wildlife. She pursued her bachelor’s degree in Marine Science at Savannah State University, where her passion for conservation truly flourished. Upon graduating, she began at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado as an educator while simultaneously working as a veterinary technician in a local clinic. The zoo-world was a natural fit but as her skills in veterinary medicine grew, combining the two seemed like the perfect career path so she pursued her Certification in Veterinary Technology.
Falicia has been a part of our Zoo family for a year—and what a year it has been! She is the right-hand man to Dr. Bogan and everyone’s wingman. On any given day, you can find Falicia in our medical center assisting with exams, running lab work, performing dental cleanings, working on ultrasounds, endoscopic procedures and more.
If our animal care has a concern or notices something unusual, she gets the call. Being responsible for wellness records helps develop training requests for animal caretakers. These training requests not only stimulate and provide enrichment for the animals; they are specially designed to help Falicia and Dr. Bogan perform many non-invasive procedures without sedatives or anesthesia.
Though she is our only veterinary technician, Falicia dedicates time to educate others about the importance of veterinary care. She organizes volunteers and interns interested in the field of animal medicine to assist in our medical center for a hands-on learning experience.
When asked about her favorite animal, Falicia told us picking that is similar to choosing your friends—it’s not about the species but the personality. Her strongest bonds have been with P.J., the greater one-horned Indian rhinoceros, Porcx, an African-crested porcupine and Angel, an Aldabra tortoise.
One of her absolute favorite parts about being our veterinary technician is working with the Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation—our conservation center in Central Florida solely focused on the research, reproduction, release and tracking of the endangered Indigo snake into their natural habitat.
The Zoo would be a very different place without Falicia. From her bright smile and witty personality to her knowledge and ability to snap into action with just a moment’s notice, she’s a vital member of our family and we’re honored to recognize her for Veterinary Technician Appreciation Week at the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens.