Dr. Tarah Hadley — Veterinarian

San Antonio, Texas

Dr. Tarah Hadley, Assistant Director of Veterinary Care at San Antonio Zoo, has been a true champion dedicated to helping exotic animals. She helps lead an 18-person team at the 501c3 non-profit zoo where she was instrumental in setting up protocols to protect endangered species during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Hadley paved the way with grace by ensuring the zoo’s at-risk species, including lions, tigers and primates, were at the front of the line to receive vaccinations for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. With Dr. Hadley’s help, San Antonio Zoo was one of the first in the nation to administer COVID vaccines to their animals. Her transformational leadership, unwavering dedication and positive outlook guaranteed the safety of the zoo’s animals during low, record-setting temperatures in 2021. As the worst winter storm to hit San Antonio in decades disrupted the power grid, Dr. Hadley and her team acted fast to evaluate and temporarily rehome hundreds of animals. A 2002 graduate of Tufts University, Dr. Hadley has always been a passionate advocate for all exotic animals. For years she provided free veterinary care to injured and orphaned wildlife at AWARE Wildlife Center, a 501c3 non-profit in the Atlanta metro area. When she became its Executive Director in 2011, she turned the small center into Georgia’s largest center for wildlife rehabilitation. Under her direction, AWARE rescued, rehabilitated and released more than 3,500 native species each year, including turtles, rabbits and birds. In 2014, she preserved the lives of dozens of animals when an unexpected winter storm brought Atlanta to its knees for days, preventing help from reaching the center. Recently, Dr. Hadley has been aiding the homeless pet population in San Antonio. She privately hands out free food to the owners of any dog in need. Dr. Tarah Hadley is an exceptional example of a heroic veterinarian who has uplifted many lives with her kindheartedness.