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Category — Keeper Bios

Happy National Zoo Keepers Week! Meet Manatee Keeper, Lindsay Garrett

Co-written by: Chris Edelen, Megan O’Keefe, and Wendy Rice

When it comes to incorporating natural talents into your career, few keepers have mastered the art as well as Lindsay Garrett. Not only is she super creative, but her artistic talents have come into play on more than one occasion in her role as zoo keeper. Whether she is shaping concrete for turtle enclosures or casting animal molds to raise money for conservation, Lindsay constantly finds ways to incorporate her strengths into her work.

When alligator “Lucy” was not shifting well into her holding area, Lindsay took it upon herself to trouble-shoot and come up with a solution. She reached out to keepers at other zoos for help and even built a gator-friendly ramp that would allow Lucy to feel the water in her holding pool, making shifting more comfortable for the visually-impaired crocodilian.

Lindsay with an alligator

Lindsay with an alligator


Additionally, Lindsay’s incredible patience and focus help make her a talented trainer. She developed a target-training program to facilitate shifting Lucy (who now shifts on cue successfully on a weekly basis!), and her colleagues call her a master of manatee training.

Lindsay training manatees

Lindsay training manatees

When it comes to educating the public, Lindsey is always willing. She even helped to develop an underwater keeper chat to help guests feel more connected to the Zoo’s manatees. Not only is Lindsay a wealth of knowledge regarding the animals in her collection, but she also conveys their environmental importance during her interactions with the public. She has also helped raise funds for conservation through her involvement with the Zoo’s American Association of Zoo Keepers chapter.

Lindsay’s positive influence even extends beyond her own department through her active involvement in the enrichment committee. Lindsay’s knowledge and insight help ensure that all the animals at our Zoo have safe and appropriate enrichment.

Co-worker Megan O’Keefe says of Lindsay: “She is ridiculously hard-working. I’ve never met anyone more on top of things than she is!” Chris Edelen said of Lindsay: “She goes above and beyond, and I am a better conservationist for seeing things through her eyes…”

Thank you for your dedication to our field Lindsay!

July 21, 2015   1 Comment

Happy National Zoo Keeper Week! Meet Head Keeper, Rick Heithaus

Co-written by: Jenna Wingate, Kara McSweeney, & Wendy Rice (All keepers at the Zoo)

Happy National Zoo Keeper Week! This week, we will be honoring five of our “All-Star” keepers as nominated by their peers, starting with Rick Heithaus! As one of the Zoo’s most senior keepers, Rick boasts more than 30 years of exotic animal experience, working with an array of animals from big cats to the Asian elephants he works with today.

An historical photo of Rick Heithaus with an African elephant

An historical photo of Rick Heithaus with an African elephant

Rick Heithaus visits with an African elephant

A more recent photo of Rick Heithaus visiting with an African elephant

Rick is a great team player and he is constantly mindful of the well-being of both the animals in his care and the keepers working around him. Rick’s safety-oriented leadership when working with elephants is both admirable and invaluable. Rick goes out of his way to ensure the absolute highest safety standards are in place and he models safe behavior at all times. It takes a lot of self-discipline and focus to keep safety at the forefront of your day, and Rick has both in spades!

Rick introduces an elephant to a patron of our Behind the Scenes Experience

Rick introduces an elephant to a patron of our Behind the Scenes Experience

When interviewing some of the keepers who have worked with Rick, all praised his incredible mentorship skills. He never misses an opportunity to teach the young keepers something valuable, and he genuinely seems to enjoy sharing information with the next generation of keepers. Though he may seem soft-spoken and unassuming, once he opens up he is easy to talk to and more than happy to share. Young keepers who have had the pleasure of working with Rick love to hear his stories from “back in the day”. From camel rides to mixed-species elephant and hippo exhibits, Rick carries with him the experience and knowledge of a keeper who has lived through our industry’s “Wild West” days.

Rick during a Behind the Scenes Elephant Experience

Rick during a Behind the Scenes Elephant Experience

One of Rick’s coworkers describes him as the “Comedy Ninja” of his department, with hilarious jokes that come out of
nowhere! Rick never seems to complain, or even get mad. Rick has been involved with the “Adopt-a-Class” initiative for several years, and he is great with children.

In his personal life, Rick enjoys taking adventurous vacations with his wife, modeling a solid work/life balance for the rest
of us. His patience and humility are legendary and he models many of the Zoo’s core values on a daily basis. We are so proud to have Rick representing our amazing profession at the Cincinnati Zoo!

July 20, 2015   No Comments

Meet Children’s Zoo Keeper Eunice Frahm

Contributors: Paul Sambrano, Wendy Rice & Linda Castaneda

Eunice with Cinder, Thatcher & Magnolia

Eunice with baby pigs Cinder, Thatcher & Magnolia

When it comes to representing the zookeeping profession, Eunice Frahm makes us proud in so many ways. Eunice works as a keeper and trainer in the Children’s Zoo. Few keepers rival her incredible enthusiasm when it comes to visitor engagement. If you’ve walked anywhere on Zoo grounds in the last few years, then you’ve seen Eunice parading some of her collection animals around to the delight of visitors and Zoo employees alike!

Eunice out for a walk with the 3 pigs

Eunice out for a walk with the 3 pigs (all grown up!)

She is hard working, has a great attitude and is a progressive thinker focused on problem-solving. She is an incredible example for her colleagues, and her enthusiasm and passion for animals spread to everyone around her.

Since joining the Children’s Zoo team, Eunice has turned her collection of domestics into one of the most popular animal shows at the Zoo, the Barnyard Bonanza. Her impressive training abilities even allow children a rare opportunity to become part of the show by racing chickens and giving goats high fives, embracing visitor engagement on a level unrivaled by any other show at the Zoo.

Paul Sambrano (Eunice’s colleague) has a nickname for her, hummingbird, because just like the

birds, she never stops, and is always on the move! Even if Eunice has downtime during her work day, she usually spends it thinking about what else can be done to help her animals. She is one of the most energetic people you’ll ever meet.

Every morning, Eunice comes in to work with a game plan, and even a couple of alternatives if

things don’t go accordingly. No matter how tired or sick she is, Eunice is always ready to work. As a keeper, she’s always looking out for the well-being of every animal, and to Eunice, every animal is equally important to the collection.

July 26, 2014   1 Comment