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Gary Mui

Ethnicity:

Chinese American

Current position: 

Instructor, Exotic Animal Training & Management

Current facility:

America's Teaching Zoo

Year zoo career began:

Gary Mui is an instructor at America’s Teaching Zoo in Moorpark California. He grew up as a first generation son of immigrants in San Francisco. Gary has always valued a balance between academics and practical experience. He holds two Bachelor's Degrees from the University of California, Berkeley emphasizing Animal Behavior and Animal Diversity. He is a graduate of Moorpark College's Exotic Animal Training & Management Program with Associate's Degrees in Animal Training & Wildlife Education. While working in the entertainment industry as an animal trainer, he received his Master's Degree in Film & Television Production from Chapman University. In his 24 years in the industry, he has trained an array of animals for live stage shows, commercials, television, and feature films. Along the way he has served as manager for the live animal shows at Universal Studios in Hollywood as well as Universal Studios in Japan.

Returning to the Moorpark EATM Program in 2019, Gary first served as a Zoo Operations Assistant but was soon promoted to Instructional Lab Technician. In this capacity, he worked directly with students, advising and coaching them on training and presentation techniques. He was recently named Full Time Instructor and will begin teaching classes in the Fall of 2021. Gary has earned a reputation for his ability to work as well with people as he does with animals. His areas of emphasis are animal training/coordination, management, and presentation/demonstration.

“I understand that my I have taken an unconventional, non-traditional career path. It can be difficult at times for family and friends to understand or be supportive. The important thing is to follow your dream and do what you love. In time, your family and friends will see how happy you are and they will come to support and understand your decisions. I can say this confidently now that I am looking back, but this can be difficult for young people starting out who are looking forward. In America it is popular to "do your own thing," but as Asians, it can be tricky to find the balance of "doing our thing" while making sure we are showing the proper respect for our elders and our culture. It is definitely possible to get where you are going without losing sight of where you've been and who you are. I am very proud of the fact that I started at the bottom and worked my way up through the animal industry. I’ve worked with animals in four different countries on 3 different continents.”