- San Diego Zoo Safari Park
In 1979, a tiny female gorilla arrived at the Safari Park, and I volunteered to be one of her full-time caregivers. Named Alberta, the little one was successfully introduced to her troop, a process I detailed in my master’s thesis. Naturally, I got hooked on gorillas. Alberta grew up and became a socially skillful member of her troop, raising three offspring of her own as well as one she “adopted.” Over the years, I have worked all over the Park in many different areas, but I really enjoy working with the gorillas. They teach us and surprise us every day! I am also a member of the Gorilla Behavioral Advisory Group, which advises institutions on all aspects of behavior related to caring for gorillas in zoos. If I could understand the gorillas all the time, I might feel like an expert. But truly, our accomplishments are all theirs, and we are just the happy bystanders and sometimes facilitators. I’m happy things work out so well!