Cue the trumpets! The Memphis Zoo is excited to welcome Dr. Kimberly
Terrell as our new Director of Research and Conservation! She will be in charge
of fulfilling the Zoo’s mission of advancing research, conservation and
education for threatened wildlife and wild places. Talk about a fun job!
Before coming to the Bluff City in September, Dr. Terrell
was a research associate for the Smithsonian’s
National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. She spent her time studying a
fascinating group of endangered animals, from cheetahs to giant salamanders.
Dr. Terrell is truly a great addition to our team and very
passionate about wildlife and conservation. So, we want you to meet her! We sat
down with our newest team member to ask her five questions so you can get to
know her better.
conservation so important to the Memphis Zoo?
The Earth is home to an astonishing diversity
of living creatures. If you walk through our Zoo, you will see animals that
you’ve probably never heard of, like the cacomistle or the dik-dik. The more time you
spend around these fascinating creatures, the more passionate you become about
saving them from extinction. With our passion and knowledge of animals, we are
in a unique position to make a difference in their fight for survival.
is the most unique or interesting experience you have had while working with
The most unique experience I have had while
working with animals happened while I was studying cheetahs at a non-profit organization
in Botswana (Africa). There were two ‘ambassador’ cheetahs that had been
rescued as orphans and were friendly around people. When I started petting one
of them, it began to purr. It sounded like a car engine! I never realized that
big cats purr just like a house cat, only much louder.
are you most excited about in your new role at the Memphis Zoo?
The Memphis Zoo has many animals that are extremely
rare, even within zoological collections. For example, only a small handful of
zoos have giant pandas, slender lorises or polar bears, and we have all three!
I’m excited about the opportunity to study these rare animals and to help
ensure their survival in zoos and in the wild.
is one thing that the average person doesn’t know about the Zoo’s role in
conservation, but should?
The Memphis Zoo plays a big role in
protecting wildlife in nature. We do this through research, education and
captive breeding programs. For example, we’re breeding Louisiana pine snakes –
the rarest snake in North America. Every year, we release about 15 young pine snakes
from our zoo into the wild. We’re also breeding dusky gopher frogs, one the
most endangered animals in the world!
could be any animal what would you be and why?
I would be an otter because it looks like
fun! Otters are full of energy, and they’re one of the most playful animals at
the zoo. Whenever I walk past our Asian
small-clawed otters, I see them bouncing around, wrestling and tumbling
into the water. I wish I could spend my days like that!
learn more about our efforts in wildlife conservation and research? Click here.