People Who Make A Difference: Dr. Tom de Maar

Local News

There is no finer example of an individual who is making a positive difference with wildlife in the Rio Grande Valley and beyond, than Dr. Tom de Maar, Senior Veterinarian at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville.

Dr. Tom de Maar cares primarily for zoo animals in his charge, but when he is not doctoring them you can often find him working with south Texas wildlife like rare Ocelots and endangered sea turtles.
 
“The reason I am a zoo vet is because I get to work in ecosystem conservation. That is my main interest.”
 
 Dr. de Maar has been the vet at Gladys Porter Zoo for a decade, and has been instrumental in caring for and breeding endangered species like the Galapagos tortoise.
 
“How do you make better Galapagos tortoises and more of them? The diet is very important, and we have had to balance the old ideas of a diet where people were feeding too much fruit and too much sweet stuff to a more natural diet.”
 
The endangered Ocelot, where some 50 cats cling to a precarious existence in deep South Texas, is a focus for Dr. de Maar.
 
“As a veterinarian, I have gotten together with Fish and Wildlife and offered my assistance in their Ocelot recovery program, been involved both in the field hands on, but also in the political arena writing the recovery plan, lobbying for support and raising money for Ocelot conservation.”
 
And in addition to caring for zoo animals and local wildlife, he is involved with conservation on an international level.
 
“I work on local species, but I also have a world view that I will look at ocelot conservation in South America. I work in giraffe conservation in Africa”
 
Dr. Tom de Maar is a wonderful example of a man who truly loves his work.
 
“Working for ecosystem conservation is both my hobby and my profession.”

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