Describe your job: Day to day care of zoo’s hoofstock and macropod collections. It includes feeding, cleaning, animal training, enrichment provision, employee training, and acting as a liaison between the animals and vet staff.
How long have you been in your position: Been in job about 22 years.
What in your background helped you get the job: Honestly? A good work ethic. My willingness to work hard, show initiative, and being an observant, dedicated person have all helped me with my position.
What is your favorite thing about your job: Day-to-day interaction with animals is always immensely fulfilling. For me personally, knowing I am providing and doing the best I can to give a quality life to a captive-wild animal inspires me. That satisfaction spills over when I see guests/people around me appreciate and take interest in the animals. Their support and involvement brings more energy to the zoo’s mission and my job.
Describe your favorite memory or experience in your current job position: Last week our zoo had a going-away party for a beloved vet who took a position at another zoo. In his speech he outlined several memories and animal cases that we all went through together as a team. My heart was overwhelmed while pondering all that goes into the challenge of bringing an animal through a medical crisis. So many people pull together, with all their knowledge and positive energy… and we don’t give up. It reminded me of just how important our mission is: saving endangered species and being involved in conservation. Of course, I have many other great memories of seeing delight in children’s faces as they played tug-o-war with elephants, etc. But, the common thread is always many people working together to honor and support wildlife.
Do you have a favorite animal? Why is it your favorite?: When I worked with elephants, it was probably them. Now, a decade without elephants in my daily care, I enjoy giraffes and kangaroos tremendously. Giraffes, because our training program enables us to relate fairly intimately with them. Thus, I am very familiar with each “animal-ality” and their quirks. We are able to tailor care and training specifically; it is gratifying. The kangaroos… well, they are just goofy and fun! They make me laugh and wonder what it is like to be in a kangaroo’s world!