Vice President, Animal Health
A valued colleague throughout the international marine mammal community who shares Shedd’s passion for connecting people with the living world, Bill Van Bonn, DVM, is the aquarium’s vice president of animal health. With more than 25 years of clinical veterinary experience, Dr. Van Bonn strengthens the aquarium’s established animal care and health expertise, overseeing its diverse aquatic medicine initiatives as well as furthering innovative veterinary science at Shedd.
Dr. Van Bonn specializes in preventive medicine and enhanced clinical veterinary services for aquatic animals, with a focus on marine mammals. At Shedd, he focuses on providing top-quality care and applying his knowledge of animal health to conservation of their counterparts in the wild. Most recently, he served as director of veterinary services at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif., where he treated and rehabilitated more than 1,000 rescued marine mammals each year, including saving sea otters, seals and sea lions. He was directly involved in medical care for Cruz, a California sea lion pup blinded by gunshots who was rescued from a California beach and given a permanent home at Shedd in 2012.
Dr. Van Bonn was the senior director of animal care at Shedd from 2004 through 2009. During his tenure, he worked alongside Shedd’s animal health team to incorporate cutting-edge techniques and state-of-the-art equipment that provide a holistic approach to care for Shedd’s 32,000 animal residents. He also was involved in the neonatal care for two beluga whale calves.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Van Bonn served nearly 15 years at the U.S. Navy’s Marine Mammal Program, including four years of active duty in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. His last position was managing veterinarian for research and advanced clinical technologies. His military awards include the National Defense Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.
Dr. Van Bonn is a past president of the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine. He is a founding member of the American Association of Human Animal Bond Veterinarians and a past invited member of the World Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Association’s Ethics and Governance Committee. He has authored numerous scientific articles and abstracts as well as contributed chapters to several books throughout his career. He is a founding faculty member of Marvet, a short course in marine veterinary medicine, and holds adjunct assistant clinical professor status at the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine. A Midwest native, Dr. Van Bonn graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University.