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Samantha Halili- Felse



Current position: 

Animal Keeper

Current facility:

Cincinnati Zoo

Year zoo career began:


Samantha is a seasonal children’s zoo keeper at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden where she works with a variety of different animals but her primary animals to care for are goats, including Nigerian Dwarf and Nubian goats. Samantha’s tasks include preparing diets and enrichment for the animals.

Samantha grew up in North and South Carolina, where she faced blatant racism in middle school because she was one of only a handful of Asian students. Samantha attended college for nursing in South Carolina before moving with her family to Ohio. She changed her major a couple of times before studying Environmental Sciences with the University of Phoenix. She began working at the Cincinnati Zoo in the Visitor Experience department where she would make sure guests had a great time by working in the parking lot of helping in the membership office. Samantha began an internship with the interpretive department in January 2020 that was cut short, but she began an internship with the Children’s Zoo in September 2020 after volunteering there for two months. She was offered a seasonal position in the same department shortly afterwards.

Samantha’s favorite part of her job is being able to bond with the animals she takes care of. Not many zookeepers are able to be hands on with their animals for so much of the day, so Samantha loves that she can cuddle with the goats, train them, walk around the zoo with them, or give them enrichment. Her role model growing up was Steve Irwin- she fell in love with his passion and dedication to saving wildlife and made up her mind that she was going to do the same, especially for animals that not everyone likes. Samantha’s favorite animal is the screaming hairy armadillo. Their armor is very cute and they are very sweet!

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