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Ayesha Smith

Ethnicity:

Black

Current position: 

Zookeeper

Current facility:

WCS- Prospect Park Zoo

Year zoo career began:

Ayesha Smith is a zookeeper at the Prospect Park Zoo where she works with hoofstock, domestics, birds, and small primates. Her responsibilities include feeding and medicating animals and cleaning their enclosures. Ayesha also prepares and distributes daily enrichment. Her favorite parts of her job are enrichment and training because they stimulate the animals’ minds as they would be stimulated in the wild.

Ayesha studied Animal Behavior at Hunter College and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2014. In 2017, Ayesha received a Master of Science in Animal Welfare and Conservation from Writtle College in the UK. Ayesha has experience working as a veterinary receptionist and in England she volunteered at a small zoo where she cared for hoofstock and birds and completed a research project with lemurs. In 2017, Ayesha began a paid internship at the Queens Zoo where she worked with domestic barn animals and aviary birds for about a year before beginning her current position.

Ayesha’s favorite animals are gorillas because they are so smart and extremely similar to humans. Her career was influenced by a doctor she worked with at a veterinary hospital, who taught her that the animal field has many branches and careers beyond becoming a veterinarian. Ayesha’s advice for aspiring zoo professionals is to find as many volunteer and internship positions as possible. Sometimes you have to work your way up to your final goal and have to take unpaid positions to eventually get the promotion to a paid position.