Conservation Technician II
Year zoo career began:
Reena is a Conservation Technician at the Phoenix Zoo where she works with native threatened and endangered species with a focus in breeding for wild release. Some species include black-footed ferrets, Chiricahua leopard frogs, narrow-headed garter snakes, Mt. Graham red squirrels, and cactus ferruginous pygmy owls. During breeding season, she takes part in tracking reproductive development, pairing and monitoring suitable mates, and caring for offspring when necessary. Reena also works closely with the US Fish and Wildlife and Arizona Game and Fish Department, allowing her to travel to beautiful parts of her state and see the animals she works with out in the wild.
Reena has always loved animals and has volunteered and worked at an animal shelter throughout high school. She found her love for wildlife while working in a research laboratory investigating white-nose syndrome in bats, even completing her college thesis with this work. She expanded her knowledge of wildlife health, field methods, and outdoor experiences with an internship at the Wildlife Health Department of Arizona Game and Fish Department. The following summer, Reena interned at the Phoenix’s Zoo Conservation Department as a Behavior Monitor for the Mt. Graham red squirrel, which included collecting and analyzing data while also performing daily husbandry tasks. This internship led to her current full-time position with the zoo’s Conservation Department.
Reena’s favorite part of her job is working with rare animals and feeling like she is making a measurable impact on the conservation of endangered species. The fieldwork in which she releases animals into the wild particularly drives this point home and she finds it incredibly rewarding. Reena notes that it wasn’t until 2019 that she herself saw someone of Indian descent working in the zoo/conservation field. She hopes to be a part of the representation she wishes she had seen while entering the field and is grateful to be part of this organization to achieve that!