Wild Animal Keeper
WCS- Central Park Zoo
Year zoo career began:
Rebecca Orens is a Wild Animal Keeper at the Central Park Zoo where she works all over the zoo in different areas. She spends time working with birds, including tropic birds like Superb Birds of Paradise, and arctic birds like Gentoo penguins. Each day, she makes diets for the animals under her care, ensures they are living in a clean environment, and keeps their minds stimulated by providing enrichment. She’s excited to continue learning about animals every day.
Rebecca’s experience with animals began in high school, where she worked as a veterinary technician for her family veterinarian. She studied for a Bachelor of Science in Biology at Widener University, where she studied entomology and Lepidoptera (moths). While in college, she was an Environmental Education and Animal Behavior Intern at the Philadelphia Zoo in 2013. After earning her degree in 2015, Rebecca worked as an intern at the Wildlife Safari working with cheetahs and other carnivores. She was hired in her first paid position as an assistant manager at the Staten Island Zoo’s Children’s Zoo, where she worked from 2016-2017. She began working at the Columbus Zoo in 2017, where she worked as first a regional assistant in the Heart of Africa before working for the Animal Programs Africa. Rebecca worked briefly at the Ohio Wildlife Center as a Wildlife Rehabilitation Associate in 2020 before moving to the WCS Central Park Zoo as a Wild Animal Keeper, which is her current position.
Rebecca’s favorite part of her job is watching animals engage with enrichment that she carefully crafted and installed- it’s extremely rewarding! She was surprised to find that zookeeping is much more than just a dirty job or hanging out with wild animals. Every day in her job presents new mental and physical challenges. For aspiring zookeepers, Rebecca advises getting as many internships as possible while in college and taking advantage of all networking opportunities. Rebecca also recommends that newcomers keep an open mind. She used to dream of working with elephants, but she’s found that carnivores and birds are what really speak to her and spark her passion.