Year zoo career began:
Jo is an animal interpreter at the Memphis zoo where she gets to use her voice to speak for animals all over the world. She interacts with guests of all ages to teach them why wildlife is so important and the role that zoos and aquariums play in supporting it. Her daily duties with the ambassador animals include husbandry, providing mentally stimulating enrichment and giving animals an opportunity to learn new behaviors while maintain old ones.
Jo has wanted to work with animals for as long as she can remember. She joined the W.I.L.D. Program at the Jacksonville zoo in 2018, a place she visited often since her grandfather worked there, where she learned to become an educator. In January of 2020, she started her next chapter at the Santa Fe Teaching Zoo, learning to become a zookeeper and falling in love with the field. She later graduated in 2021 with an A.S. in Zoo Animal Technology.
Jo finds zookeeping to be an incredibly rewarding field despite the hardships it may bring. The satisfaction of an animal spending hours on enrichment, seeing animals swim and roll around in a freshly scrubbed pool or when an animal finally understands a behavior you’ve been working on makes every single hardship worth it. Jo advises to aspiring professionals to always keep an open mind and be ready to learn – the field is rapidly growing and you should always try to do better than yesterday!