White (Polish/ Lithuanian)
Animal Keeper, Primates
Year zoo career began:
Ellen is a Primate Keeper at the Houston Zoo where she works on a team of 24 people to care for a variety of primate species, including chimps, gorillas, and orangutans along with additional animals including agoutis and aracaris. Ellen primarily works with De Brazza’s monkeys, white-cheeked gibbons, and Patas monkeys. She is responsible for their daily care, enrichment, feeding, and health. Ellen’s work every day gives the animals a healthy living environment.
Ellen has always been an avid animal lover, and as a child she would frequently visit the Brookfield Zoo. Her experiences there ignited her passion for zoo work and fed her love of animals. Ellen has held a variety of paid and unpaid positions before her current position, including experiences at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Ellen has also earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree from Pikes Peak Community College, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Zoo Science from Friends University, and a Master of Science degree in Professional Science in Sustainability Science from Unity College.
Ellen’s favorite part of her job is being able to learn how to successfully take care of the animals and help the conservation of the species in the future. Her favorite animal is Hartmann’s mountain zebras because they are underestimated, and each zebra’s print is like a fingerprint. Her advice to aspiring animal keepers is to stick with it, as this is a hard profession to break into. To succeed, network, attend conferences, meet new people, and build relationships.