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Jessica is our Manager of the Serengeti department and received a B.S. of Wildlife Management, Fisheries, and Biology from the University of Wyoming. She joined Out of Africa in July of 2014 as a Unimog Tour Guide (now known as the Supermog Tour), and was promoted to a full-time keeper just six months later. In addition to her duties at the park, Jessica spends her “free-time” as a board member at a local wildlife rehab center. Her previous experiences include assisting in veterinarian hospitals, training animals in shelters, field research, and traveling abroad to volunteer at various conservation centers and sanctuaries.

Jessica knew from a very young age that she needed to devote her life towards being a voice for animals. When she discovered Out of Africa, she knew that she belonged here. One of her favorite parts of the job is getting to educate the general public about conservation through safari tours and VIP encounters. Experiencing people light up when seeing the giraffe for the first time, or seeing the concerned faces when they learn about diminishing addax populations make it all worth it.

“We are currently facing a poaching crisis with numerous species, and it is critical for us to spark love and interest in the public eye. I currently have over one hundred animals in my care, and I personally know and love every single one of them. My goal as a keeper here at Out of Africa is to transfer my love for these animals to everyone I meet. Interacting with and gaining trust from such beautiful animals is incredibly humbling, and I want everyone who walks through our gates feel that too.”

One of her favorite duties as a keeper is training time with the animals. She believes it is important to have the animals voluntarily participate in their own care and medical needs, especially when working with megafauna that aren’t as easy to maneuver. She is diligently working towards creating a hoof care program at the park to have as many animals as she can participate in full voluntary hoof trims – this way our keepers can maintain the animals’ hoof health without any sedative requirements. Earlier this year, Jessica traveled to Colorado for a week-long zoo professional training course to learn how to trim hooves herself from the prestigious Zoo Hoofstock Trim Program. 

Follow Jessica on Instagram to learn more about the fun animals she works with @j.ofthewild/

You can support Giraffes in the wild by following GCF by going to their website: https://giraffeconservation.org/

Keeper Questions

  • What is your job at Out of Africa?

    I am the hoofstock manager here at Out of Africa Wildlife Park. That means manager all the keepers, but also all the hoofstock, which are animals like the giraffes, the zebras, the rhino, the ostriches, but I also coordinate all the tours!

  • Have you always wanted to work with giraffes?

    I have always wanted to work with animals – I thought was going to do something completely different. I thought I was going to work with tigers. My dream was going to work with tigers. When I was hired I was trained into a hoofstock position and I fell in love with giraffes and I knew I was going to be working with them for the rest of my life.

  • Can you tell me your favorite giraffe fact?

    Their sleep life is how I wish I wish my sleep life could be. They literally shut down half their brain at a time, and the other half is alert, they can keep eating, keep looking for predators. They also have one of the highest blood pressures out of any mammals on the planet. When they lean their head lower then their heart they have a valve that shuts off all blood flow to their head!

  • Why are you so passionate about your work with giraffes?

    I love being able to share my love for giraffes, and I love being able to educate and tell people what is going on about giraffes out in the wild. Most people know that their numbers are dwindling out in the wild, but most people don’t know it’s a “silent extinction”, which is heartbreaking. – scientists say 30 percent of the population has dropped in the last 40 years. Raising awareness for why we need to save them is part of my lives purpose.

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If you love animals and have a question – ask! We would love to answer your questions about our animal friends and what it’s like to be a Keeper!

If you are a classroom, we would love to hear from you! Please submit your questions all on one form (attach below). List your teacher’s name, the school, the class and the town. Limit your questions to no more than TEN, and try to only ask about one animal or area of the park. IE: Mr. Smith’s 3rd Grade Class from Harrison Elementary in Denver Colorado, asking about lizards, or Jericho the Rhino, etc. We will let you know if your class is selected, and answer all your questions, in a special Keeper Korner!


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