Lead Animal Keeper and RVT
Charles Paddock Zoo
Year zoo career began:
Flavia Parotti is a Lead Zookeeper and Registered Veterinary Technician at the Charles Paddock Zoo where she is responsible for the entire collection’s health and well being as well as the animal care staff. Flavia is also responsible for managing the veterinary clinic which includes inventory, record keeping, scheduling routine exams, and administering treatments. The Charles Paddock Zoo is the second smallest AZA accredited institution, and so the staff members wear several hats. Flavia also runs the zoo’s volunteer and internship programs, does event planning, and manages the social media channels and website for the zoo.
Flavia was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, which is the fourth largest city in the world. When Flavia was 14 years old, her family moved to Buffalo, New York, for a while before Flavia moved back to Brazil. Flavia attended Universidade Mackenzie in Brazil, during which she completed some unpaid internships and worked in a research project studying fish ecology. Towards the end of college, Flavia looked for employment but had no luck finding a job in São Paulo. She wanted to live near her father in Florida but instead was able to get a four-month internship at the Emerald Forest Bird Gardens in California which offered her a small stipend and housing. Flavia’s internship was extended to 6 months and, after that, she was offered employment at EFBG where she worked for almost 7 years, eventually becoming the facilities manager. During her time there, Flavia completed an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology from Mount San Antonio College in West Covina, CA. She then passed the California Board Examination to become a Registered Veterinary Technician and took on the position at the Charles Paddock Zoo where she’s been since 2009.
Flavia’s favorite part of her job is that she’s making a difference in the lives of the animals she works with and, in the big picture, she’s making a difference in the conservation of our planet. For aspiring zookeepers, Flavia advises you to never give up and be persistent. Be passionate as well, as the job can be very emotionally and physically demanding.