Year zoo career began:
Eunice is the Lead Keeper of Education at the Oakland Zoo where she currently works with parrots, small mammals, invertebrates, and various reptiles. Eunice is responsible for their daily husbandry, enrichment, and training. She also ensures that proper handling techniques are followed by members of the Education staff and volunteers.
Eunice grew up in Oakland and remembers going on field trips to the Oakland Zoo when she was young. Her fondest memory of the zoo was hearing the Siamangs singing in the morning, which is still one of her favorite sounds. Her career with wildlife began while volunteering at a local wildlife rehabilitation facility. Eunice graduated from the University of California, Davis with a degree in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology. About one year after graduation, Eunice became a Shelter Manager at the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley in San Jose, CA, to pursue a career in wildlife rehabilitation. As rewarding as it was to rehab and release animals, not being able to form relationships with the animals was not fulfilling for Eunice. She received her first keeper job at Coyote Point Museum (now CuriOdyssey) in San Mateo, CA. She learned all about working with California native wildlife, handling raptors and working with venomous snakes.
Eunice’s favorite part of her job is training animals and watching their confidence grow. She discovered that earning the trust of the animals under her care with patience and by learning their individual personalities can open so many avenues of training potential. Her advice to aspiring zoo professionals is to work hard, listen, and learn. Be patient, observant, and really listen to what the animals are telling you. Treat each animal as an individual. Advocate for yourself. Be open with your ideas and don’t be afraid to ask questions.