Sea Lions, Otters & Bears – Oh My! – Meet Lisa Potter

Lisa works on “target” training with Callie the sea lion
Lisa Potter attended summer classes at the Zoo when she was eight years old, continued to enjoy Zoo programs while in elementary school and became a Junior Zoologist as a teenager. She volunteered at the Children’s Zoo while in high school, worked there during the summer while in college, and got hired as a full-time Zookeeper when Jungle Trails opened in ’93.  She worked in Jungle Trails for about a year and a half, and then spent 13 years in the Primate Center.
Today Lisa is a senior keeper and works with bears, sea lions and all the animals in Wolf Woods.  “I actually like working with the sea lions the best.  They’re very smart and fun to train and interact with, and our two sea lions are very good animals,” said Lisa.   Her typical day consists of cleaning and feeding, training and operant conditioning, and jumping in to help with whatever needs attention!  The “bear line” keepers maintain the filtration systems for the sea lion and polar bear pools, so some of their work is facility maintenance.
Lisa rewards Callie with a fish
Lisa is proud of training our sea lions to roll over onto their backs so their stomach areas can be checked.  “I taught our male sea lion, Duke, a couple of years ago, first in the water, which he picked up fairly quickly.  It took a lot longer for him to figure out how to do the same behavior on land, but the day he did it was so neat to see his “light bulb” moment.”  Callie, the female sea lion (see photos)  just learned to do it last week!  “She’s younger and very smart, and picked it up a lot faster.”  Megan-Kate Colwell, our Animal Training expert, helped teach Callie that behavior.
When Lisa is not at the Zoo, she likes to hike with her dogs, read and go to Reds games.
Look for Lisa at the Sea Lion animal encounter, which happens daily at 9:45 and 1:45 until Labor Day.