Describe your job: I supervise the reptile department, and specialize in captive management and training of crocodilians.
How long have you been in the position? I have been working here since 2007.
What in your background helped you get the job? I grew up in a zoo. My father is Terry L. Maple, who was president of Zoo Atlanta for 18 years. He currently works as President here at the Palm Beach Zoo.
What’s your favorite thing about your job? My favorite thing is the connection that I get with visitors as we bond over reptiles. There is so much that the public does not understand about these incredible creatures. I love helping people see how intelligent they are.
Describe a favorite memory/experience in your current position: Training my first crocodilian. The bond that you can build with the animals to make them trust you is unforgettable.
Do you have a favorite animal? Why is it your favorite? Mardi, the white alligator, is my favorite. He and I have an unspoken respect for each other, and I have been his primary keeper since I started. He is very calm with me, and is always ready for the next training step or enrichment that I bring to him. Sometimes I just enjoy going in to the visitor space to talk about his species. Through the glass, he can still hear me. He will often enter the water, ready to train, even though he was resting very comfortably on land. Alligators have terrific hearing, and can very easily tell one human voice from another.
EMILY IS THE COOLEST PERSON EVER,
Can I have your autograph now?
Emily is an amazing keeper because she is so observant and respectful of the species for whom she cares. You can tell that they know and respect her in return – through the way they respect and respond to her commands. Thanks for highlighting her!
Great write up on a hard working, devoted environmentalist. Keep it up, Emily!
Watching Emily work in any training session – especially with Mardi – is a treat everyone should get to experience!