How long have you worked at the Memphis Zoo?
I have been working at the Memphis Zoo two years.
What is your educational background?
I have a Bachelors of Science in Biology with minor in
Anthropology from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC.
What interested you to pursue your current career path?
I have always wanted to work with animals. After wanting
to be a marine biologist in the 6th grade then coming to the realization that I
probably should learn to swim, which I never did, my interest changed to land
based. My love for elephants developed after a zookeeper by the name of Joey
Ratliff at Audubon Zoo stated by the end of my internship there my favorite
animal would be elephants. By the end of that internship indeed elephants were
my favorite and I stronger pursed a career working with elephants.
Briefly describe what your typical day looks like.
Feeding, caring, training and enriching three female
African elephants is the typical day. As well care and feeding of bongos, gazelle and ostriches. Much of that is cleaning with huge reward of standing beside the
largest land animal.
What is your favorite Zoo memory?
My favorite Zoo memory involves the late "Tombi" rhino. She
and I had what I called "Tombi and Thomas" time. If I was there on
the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for her keeper chat, I always loved to do them.
One of my favorite zoo memories was during my first summer; it was pretty warm
outside and during the keeper chat, Tombi always came over to get scratched. She
came over and got scratched as normal and then she went over and wallowed in
her mud quite funny and covered in mud she returned back over to be scratched
What is your favorite animal (and why)?
"Tyranza" aka "Ty" (elephant) is my favorite animal. It is hard
to explain but it something that has developed over the past year. Much of it
has to do with working with her on a new behavior and seeing how it has
progressed over the couple of months I have worked with her on it.