Animal Keeper, Birds
Los Angeles Zoo
Year zoo career began:
Kimberly Garcia is the main flamingo and aviary flight keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo where she is responsible for the care and management of 150 birds, including 13 ambassador flamingos that she raised since they hatched. Kim’s day begins with making sure that every bird in her care is doing well. Next, she cleans their pools and exhibits, and feeds them all. At times she is involved in the restraint and medicating process for birds that need medical attention. She is also involved in incubating and hand rearing some birds.
Kimberly’s career at the Los Angeles Zoo began as a zoo magnet student, during which she was selected by the Earthwatch Institute to go to Churchill, Canada, to study the effects of global warming on the tundra. After graduating high school, Kimberly worked at the zoo as a zoo camp counselor and in the zoo food service department. In 2006, Kimberly was accepted to the Exotic Animal Training Program at Moorpark College. She graduated in 2008 and began a seasonal position working the animal show at Universal Studios Hollywood. After the summer she began yet another seasonal position for an animal outreach company while volunteering at the Los Angeles Zoo. In 2009, Kimberly was hired as a veterinary technician’s assistant at an animal ophthalmology specialty practice and worked at an emergency veterinary clinic at night. In 2010, Kimberly was hired at the Los Angeles Zoo as the flamingo relief keeper and the demand keeper in the aviary section. She has worked with many species of birds including vultures, waterfowl, toucans, parrots, but is most proud of her role in the development of the flamingo ambassador program.
Kimberly’s favorite part of her job is participating in species survival plan programs and efforts as well as spending time with the ambassador flamingos and educating visitors about them. She advises aspiring keepers to never give up, and to consider both the Exotic Animal Training Program at Moorpark College and volunteering at a zoo as great ways to get into the animal industry. In 2002, Kimberly was injured and almost lost her life, putting her life on hold for a couple of years as she healed, battled depression, PTSD, and physical limitations. She wasn’t ready to give up on her dream of being a zoo keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo someday, and is so blessed to have had the opportunity to fulfill her goal and dream.