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Category — Keeper Bios

Zookeeper Paul Reinhart Does It All

Paul with mother & baby camels

Zoo Academy graduate Paul Reinhart began his career at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden 30 years ago.  At the Zoo, Paul oversees the care of a variety of hoof stock, including three species of rhinos, okapi, zebra, bongo, takin and camel. He also cares for the red pandas and works with cheetahs, tufted deer, and cranes that are housed at the Zoo’s off-site breeding facility. Paul’s typical day includes feeding animals, cleaning exhibits, fixing things, cleaning pools and “doing whatever needs to be done!”

Paul in Sumatra with mother rhino Ratu

Paul just returned from spending four weeks at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia, where he attended the historically-significant birth of a male Sumatran rhino. The event was personally significant for Paul, who was also present at the birth of the calf’s father, Andalas, at the Cincinnati Zoo in 2001.  Andalas was the first rhino bred and born in captivity in over a century, and Paul was on his team of caregivers. He, and the rest of the C.R.E.W. team, are beyond thrilled that Andalas is playing such a pivotal role in the survival of his species.

Ratu and Andatu

In his free time, Paul enjoys biking and canoeing. One of his favorite activities is cutting grass. Something about turning on his iPod and using a push mower brings joy to this hoof stock zookeeper.

July 18, 2012   2 Comments

Are You My Mother? Birds Follow Zookeeper Rickey Kinley

Moving flamingos to another exhibit

Zookeeper Rickey Kinley has always enjoyed being around animals. That passion led him to attend the Zoo Academy, a high school based here at the Zoo, and to accept a position at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden as a seasonal bird zookeeper in 1993.  Nineteen years later, he’s still enjoying his work as a bird zookeeper in the Wings of the World exhibit.

For Rickey, no two days are the same. While he follows a basic schedule of preparing food, feeding the birds, cleaning exhibits and caring for the birds, he says that “it is never mundane.” Rickey loves the daily surprises.

Rickey Kinley keeping the penguins in line!

Some birds, such as flamingos and cranes, need to exercise daily when they are young to keep their legs from bowing out.  Rickey often takes them on walks and runs through the Zoo. The babies follow right behind him as he navigates through the Zoo.  You can also find him keeping the king penguins in line when they stray during the penguin parades held here in the winter months.

There are several babies in the bird house right now. Rickey is caring for baby flamingos, baby lorikeets, baby ducks and a baby black footed penguin in addition to the other adult Wings of the World residents!

Rickey has a 17-year-old son named Andre and also helps run a doggy day care and grooming business.

July 17, 2012   1 Comment

Cecil Jackson, Jr. – Born to be an Elephant Man

Cecil working with Mai Thai

At the age of 14, Cecil began working at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden under his father Cecil Jackson Sr., who worked at the Zoo for 50 years. In his 35 years as a Zoo employee, Cecil Jr. has worked with gorillas, chimps, orangutans, cats, okapis, tapirs, hippos, horses and various types of birds. He is currently the Elephant Manager and is also responsible for the animals in Giraffe Ridge.

Cecil helps Reds player Chris Heisey give an elephant bath

Cecil’s typical work day includes checking on the animals, picking up after them, cleaning, providing enrichment for the animals, and giving tours as needed. “Working here is great,” says Cecil. “Working with the animals is the best time I’ve ever had. Animals are honest; they let you know up front how everything is.”

One of his fondest memories is when the Zoo brought Sabu, the bull elephant, home. Working with Sabu as a calf and developing him into his teens was an enriching experience. After Sabu took a 10-year leave for breeding, he came back to Cincinnati in 2008. “When he came home, his demeanor and spirits had changed from the way he acted at the other facility. It was like ‘I’m home and I am glad’,” says Cecil.

At home, Cecil takes care of his own personal “zoo.” Cecil has 10 dogs, six horses, six cats, four exotic birds, three snakes, two donkeys, a few domestic turtles, and an African spur thigh tortoise that weighs 50 pounds! A fun fact about the African spur thigh tortoise is that it’s the third largest turtle in the world and can weigh up to 300 pounds.

Cecil playing with his band

Cecil is also a professional performer. He enjoys playing bluegrass music and has done so all his life.

July 16, 2012   2 Comments