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Dr. Louden Wright Hired as Full-Time Veterinarian

Great Plains Zoo Hires Full-Time Veterinarian

SIOUX FALLS: The Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History (GPZ) has hired a new full-time veterinarian, Dr. Louden Wright. Dr. Wright will oversee the Veterinary Care department and has a strong passion for providing top-quality, modern medical care to wildlife as well as supporting conservation efforts in the region and abroad.

A native of Tennessee, Dr. Wright received his Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science with minors in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Going on to attend veterinary school, Dr. Wright earned his DVM from the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee before moving into his first position at the University of Wisconsin Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

In 2017, Dr. Wright was accepted into a residency program through the University of California-Davis where he worked at a number of institutions, including the Sacramento Zoo, Marine Mammal Center, SeaWorld, and the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. Dr. Wright has been featured on the Animal Planet show ‘The Zoo: San Diego’ during his time working at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. His experience in a variety of facilities is an asset to GPZ.

“My philosophy is that healthy, well taken care of animals in enriched environments make the best ambassadors for both the zoo and their species,” Dr. Wright stated. “This includes not only their physical health (although that is a major part of it), but also making sure their nutritional needs are balanced, that their habitats are appropriate, and that their mental health and well-being is looked after.”

Dr. Wright has a vision for the Veterinary department, with emphasis on expanding the outreach and engagement of the Veterinary department to better reach guests and educate the public on all that goes into caring for the animals at the zoo. This type of public engagement is what piqued Dr. Wright’s interest in veterinary medicine as a child, and one he hopes to bring to the children of Sioux Falls.

“Although GPZ is smaller than some other Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) institutions, there is a fantastic group of people that take care of the animals and accomplish the zoo’s vision,” Dr. Wright said of his new home. “It is really important to me that the people with whom I work are those with a similar vision and reason for being here.”

Dr. Wright has already been placed on GPZ’s newly formed Conservation Committee and has started settling into his role providing medical care to the hundreds of animals that are under human care at GPZ. As an accredited AZA facility, GPZ is in the top 10% of animal care facilities in North America and sets a high standard for its animal welfare.

“Dr. Wright is a passionate veterinarian who is dedicated to providing high quality, modern medicine to the animals in our care which directly contributes to their optimal health and wellness.  Whether he is treating an endangered Black Rhinoceros or a Ball Python, Dr. Wright cares deeply for all of our animals.  His expertise helps our zoo achieve the highest standard in animal care and excellence.  We are delighted to have Dr. Wright join our team at GPZ!” Becky Dewitz, Great Plains Zoo CEO stated. 

The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering a greater understanding of our natural world through education, conservation, recreation and discovery. The Great Plains Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) – a leader in wildlife conservation. Fewer than 10% of animal institutions in the United States have met the high standards for AZA accreditation.


  • Love this zoo! Great place to get a walk in and the animals are everywhere! The museum/indoor part is very educational too. Has a lot of shade for when it's hot out. Very clean. Friendly staff.

    Taylor F.
  • We love to visit the zoo. They have great outdoor exhibits and lots to do inside as well. Great for kids and adults.

    Robin A.
  • Lots of great exhibits and animals to see! Fun gift shop and learning center.

    Stephanie N.
  • The museum gives you a break from the sun on hot summer days and has a great selection of animal exhibits from around the world. ¬†The zoo keeps growing and adding new animal habitats or improving existing ones. ¬†Membership offers reciprocal benefits to other zoos around the country.

    Bill T.