Adriana De Los Santos
Mexican American/ Latina
Animal Keeper/ Show Assistant
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Year zoo career began:
Adriana De Los Santos is an animal keeper and show assistant at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo where she works with ambassador animals including birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Her daily tasks include the daily care, training, and enrichment for the animals in her care. She conducts live education shows and programs on and off zoo grounds for both large audiences and small groups. Adriana also trains birds to do free flight training at the zoo’s amphitheater with hopes to inspire people to get involved with animal conservation and making a difference for wildlife.
Adriana has always loved animals but grew up in a household where her parents never let her have a cat or dog, despite her begging and pleading. Her mom encouraged her to look at other jobs but soon realized that Adriana was set on working with animals when she would bring young wildlife home for around the clock care for her job as a wildlife rehabilitator in high school. Adriana attended The Ohio State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Sciences with a minor in Spanish. While in college, Adriana had an internship at the Ohio Wildlife Center. After graduating, Adriana worked at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium in multiple positions including as a camp counselor, show staff, maintenance department staff, overnight programs staff, and seasonal keeper in the North American/ My Barn area and the African Forest/ Australasia area. Adriana also had an internship at Zoologico Guadalajara in Mexico for four and a half months.
Adriana’s favorite animals are birds! Parrots, including scarlet macaws, and corvids, like ravens and crows, are some of her favorite birds because they are smart and challenging to train. She advises aspiring animal keepers to start working with animals as soon as they can! Join professional organizations like AAZK (American Association of Zoo Keepers) or IAATE (International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators) for great networking opportunities, professional development, and for great resources.