Catherine Lowry Straz Veterinary Hospital

The Catherine Lowry Straz Veterinary Hospital provides medical services for the more than 300 species entrusted in our care and is the only veterinary facility inside a zoo that has been accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association. The hospital boasts state-of-the-art equipment, including a surgical room, X-ray area and a laboratory. Led by world-renowned veterinarians, the ZooTampa medical team works to ensure that all of our animals receive the best healthcare. In addition to the manatee rehabilitation work, ZooTampa’s veterinary team also partners with organizations such as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to care for and rehabilitate several of Florida’s iconic wildlife species including black bears and Florida panthers.


Dr. Cynthia Stringfield, DVM, Senior VP of Animal Health, Conservation & Education

Dr. Cynthia Stringfield, DVM, Senior VP of Animal Health, Conservation & Education

Dr. Stringfield brings more than 35 years of experience as a medical professional and is a passionate advocate for the care and conservation of animals throughout the world.  Most recently, Dr. Stringfield was a member of the animal health team at the Santa Barbara Zoo and a professor and department chair of the Exotic Animal Training and Management program at Moorpark College. Prior to that, she was a clinical and supervising veterinarian at the Los Angeles Zoo. Additionally, through U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Dr. Stringfield was the California Condor Veterinary Coordinator and Advisor for 17 years and a member of the California Condor Recovery Team during the incredible recovery of this endangered species. Dr. Stringfield also brings extensive big cat experience to ZooTampa, and is very excited to again work with USFWS and be part of the Florida Panther Recovery Program.

Staff Vet Doctor Melissa Nau

Dr. Melissa Nau, DVM, Director of Animal Health

Dr. Nau grew up in rural Pennsylvania and has had a lifelong passion for zoo and wildlife medicine. After completing her undergraduate degree at Penn State University, she attended veterinary school at the Ohio State University, during which time she participated in various training experiences at zoos across the country. After graduating from OSU in 2013, Melissa went on to complete several specialized training programs in zoo medicine, including internships at SeaWorld San Diego, the National Marine Mammal Foundation, and Kansas State University, as well as fellowships at ZooTampa and the San Diego Zoo. Melissa is enthusiastic about sharing her love for all the creatures in our care (especially rhinos!), and is excited about returning to the team at ZooTampa.

Staff Vet Doctor Kendra Baker

Dr. Kendra Baker, DVM, Associate Veterinarian

Dr. Baker attended St. George's University School of Veterinary Medicine. Her postgraduate training includes internships at the Philadelphia Zoo and Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, and a fellowship at the National Aquarium. She has worked in wildlife rehabilitation both nationally (seals, sea turtles and snowy owls) and internationally (Bornean orangutans, Indonesian slow lorises, Asian elephants and sun bears) and is excited to help manatees here in Florida. She trained seals and sea lions prior to veterinary school and has a passion for animal behavior. She finds the intersection between zoo and wildlife medicine incredibly important to further the conservation of threatened species in their home ranges, and she is thrilled to keep the animals that call ZooTampa their home healthy and fulfilled!