Zookeeper, Kids' Kingdom Internship Coordinator
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
Year zoo career began:
Kesha Phares is a zoo keeper at the Pittsburgh zoo in the Kids’ Kingdom area which includes sea lions, river otters, kangaroos, beavers, skunks, tree kangaroo, goats, alpaca, pigs, barn owl, donkey, and fruit bats. Her daily tasks include observing animals for unusual behavior, preparing and distributing diets, assisting in veterinary procedures, and maintaining proper environmental conditions for the animals. One of her favorite parts of her job is training animals. Kesha is also the Kids’ Kingdom internship coordinator and she interviews and hires interns.
Kesha’s zoo career began when she became a seasonal petting yard attendant at the Pittsburgh zoo in September 1999. By the spring of 2000 Kesha was promoted to assistant lead attendant, a position she held for two years while also interning in the Big Cat/ Rhino department. She became a temporary keeper in the winter holding area in 2001, and then became a full time keeper in her current position in the same year.
Kesha’s role model was Kathy Suthard, a Lead Keeper in the Big Cat/ Rhino department who took Kesha under her wing and taught her a lot about being a zoo keeper. Kesha’s favorite animals are goats because they are very smart and mischievous. Her advice for aspiring zoo keepers is to be patient and keep applying- it takes time to get into the zoo field.