Animal Keeper- Cats
Rolling Hills Zoo
Year zoo career began:
Diana Vincent is a zookeeper at the Rolling Hills Zoo where she is the primary cat keeper for Amur tigers, African lions, snow leopards, cougars, Andean bears, and Chilean flamingos. One of her favorite parts of her job is simply enjoying the small animal moments throughout her daily routine, like when the zoo’s snow leopard will “talk” to her in the morning or seeing both bears in their pool together. As a zookeeper she has a mentally and physically demanding job so she thinks it’s important to sometimes just briefly take a minute to enjoy the best part of her job- the animals!
Diana was adopted as a baby from China by a single mother and raised in North Carolina. She grew up in a diverse area but often felt some pressure to fit in with a certain stereotype because of how she looked. Diana went to Rhodes College initially on a pre-med course because she loves science and thought it was the clearest route to pursue a science degree. However, she didn’t connect with the subject and found herself completing an animal care internship with a big cat sanctuary on a whim. She fell in love with the field and earned a biology degree with a focus on environmental studies and wildlife conservation. After completing a variety of internships with many different species, Diana has developed a strong passion for working with exotic cats, which she is able to do in her current position.
Diana advises future zookeepers to try out various types of facilities with a diversity of species because you may find a field or animal that really interests you that you never knew existed, which is how Diana developed a love for rock hyraxes despite being a cat keeper. She has also learned that life is too short to not do what makes you happy regardless of society and peer pressures, so follow your passion and do what makes you happy.