The Napping Wizard Sessions
Interview: Adrienne Whiteley
From 1977-2018 Adrienne Whiteley worked at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, NY. As a voice major in college, she found part-time work as a seasonal employee at the zoo. She didn't know then that she had fallen into her career path. Over the next 41 years she worked her way up to the position of Senior Zoo Keeper, Collection Manager and Registrar, overseeing most aspects of the Zoo’s operation, and, most importantly, animal care and well-being. Since 2007 she has been teaching a highly popular course at Syracuse University on zoo animal management. In June 2018 we sat down to talk about elephants that paint, why penguins are vicious little monsters, unpredictable lions, the heart problems of gorillas and Bambi. “There’s a saying in the zoo community that there are more tigers in Texas than there are in the wild. Nobody needs a tiger.” Learn more about this wisdom and of Adrienne’s perspective on the zoo experience and the state of zoos and animal welfare in the American context. This interview is a bonus edition to my first episode of Premise: A Bold Move With The Cowardly Lion. In this isolated interview I cut the bits about the lion in the elementary school and focus on Adrienne’s experience and insights. To listen to her parts in Premise, find episode S02 E01 Premise: A Bold Move With The Cowardly Lion in my past shows.
*Photo of M'Wasi and Kierha (©Rosamund Gifford Zoo), the last two lions at the Rosamund Gifford Zoo. Kierha died in Dec. 2017 and M'Wasi in August 2018, shortly after this interview. Adrienne was fortunate to work with them.