Insect House Team Leader Winton Ray joined the Zookeeper team at the Cincinnati Zoo nine years ago. Mammal Zookeepers, like most that we have profiled during National Zookeeper Week, often work with a variety of animals, in several areas of the Zoo. The insect department is a bit different. Winton started his career at the Zoo in the Insect House and has remained there. He likes the detail-oriented nature of the job and getting to work with animals throughout their life cycles, from egg to nymph or larvae to adult.
Winton shares his enthusiasm for invertebrates with the public during scheduled animal encounters and also takes time to interact with Insect House visitors throughout his invariably hectic days. For Winton, “Being a part of a world-renowned insect zoo and helping to change public attitudes about invertebrates” is about as good as it gets!
A number of the invertebrate species Winton works with can only be found at a few zoos, and a few can only be seen at the Cincinnati Zoo. “I am very proud of my(our) work with the Giant Jumping Stick. Randy [Morgan, Curator] collected a single animal from the Peruvian Amazon in 2000, and all of our subsequent animals are her descendants. We have supplied them to about eight zoos. All of the Giant Jumping Sticks in US zoos originated from the Cincinnati Zoo!”
When Winton isn’t working with insects he enjoys watching movies, reading and traveling. Thank you for making the Insect house a must see exhibit!