July 30, 2020


July 30, 2020

San Diego Zoo Global
Public Relations



John R. Peterson Bequest Provides $1 Million for Veterinary Residents at the San Diego Zoo
Gift Will Fund Long-running Program for Wildlife Health

The estate of the late John R. Peterson—an animal lover, philanthropist and longtime San Diegan—has bequeathed $1 million to fund veterinary medicine residents at the San Diego Zoo. 

The funding will directly support one resident each year as they care for the health needs of a wide variety of species at the 103-year-old institution. Working with a world-class wildlife health team, the residents will focus largely on comparative medicine and surgery, preventive medicine, animal welfare and clinical investigation. Their duties will include anesthesia, physical examinations, diagnostics, therapeutics, case management, and maintaining herd and flock health for a wide variety of taxa. The bulk of the residents’ time will be allotted to clinical duties, with the remainder dedicated to clinical investigations and participation in wildlife conservation activities. 

“We are so grateful for Mr. Peterson’s generosity toward the veterinary medicine we provide to the animals in our care,” said Paul A. Baribault, president/CEO of San Diego Zoo Global. “This gift will truly make a difference for wildlife.” 

The endowment continues a program that began in 2001 and has given 16 residents—who will be called John R. Peterson Zoological Veterinary Medicine Residents, beginning this fall—a chance to deepen their veterinary skills and conduct valuable research.

The contribution places Peterson among the ZOO 100, a group of the first 100 supporters to pledge gifts of $1 million or more to San Diego Zoo Global, to ensure the continuation of a legacy of conserving animals and plants, caring for wildlife and inspiring future generations. 

As a leader in wildlife conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to over 1 billion people annually, reaching 150 countries via social media, our websites and the San Diego Zoo Kids network, in children’s hospitals in 12 countries. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible with support from our incredible donors committed to saving species from the brink of extinction.