Secrets of the Zoo: North Carolina
Nat Geo WILD, Saturdays, 10 p.m. ET
Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at the North Carolina Zoo? Here’s your chance to find out! The North Carolina Zoo is featured in the new, eight-part Nat Geo WILD series, SECRETS OF THE ZOO: NORTH CAROLINA, which premieres Saturday, Oct. 31, at 10 p.m. ET. How to watch: check your local cable listings, AT&T/DirectTV, DISH, Hulu Live TV, Amazon Prime and many other streaming services.
North Carolina is home to the world's largest zoo, with 2,600 acres, large natural habitats and more than 1,800 animals in its care. The show features several Zoo staff, including keepers and veterinarians, and highlight stories, including routine animal husbandry, emergency procedures and the Zoo’s work in conservation and rescue and release of injured wildlife. Follow the Zoo online Facebook, Twitter, Instagram @nczoo.
Meet the Staff. Check Back Often for New Faces!
Jb (jay-bee; yes, it’s the correct spelling!), MS, DVM, Dipl. ACZM serves as the Director of Animal Health and Chief Veterinarian for the North Carolina Zoo. In his role, he oversees the health and well-being of more than 1,800 animals that call the Zoo home. Jb also leads the Zoo’s veterinary hospital with a staff of nine and the Zoo’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, one of the few wildlife rehabilitation centers operated by a zoo in the country. He has worked at the zoo since 2014 (plus an earlier stint here as a vet resident) and was previously staff veterinarian at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Jb received his Bachelor’s of Science from Virginia Tech, Master’s of Science from Utah State University and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine.
Jb’s hometown is Portsmouth, Virginia. He is involved in several conservation projects both locally and internationally including efforts with elephants in Cote d’Ivoire, Africa. You can read more about his work with elephants on the Zoo’s blog.
Heather serves as the Hospital Manager, Head Veterinary Technician and Jb’s right-hand person for the Zoo’s veterinary team. In her role, she helps manage the vet techs and hospital staff. She works with ALL the Zoo animals! Heather has a Bachelor’s in Animal Science from Clemson University and is a Registered Veterinary Technician, Veterinary Specialist (Zoos). Heather has worked at the North Carolina Zoo for thirteen years and her hometown is Greenville, South Carolina. Read about Heather's work with endangered birds on the Mariana Islands on the Zoo's blog.
Zoo Curator – Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish, & Invertebrates
As the curator of herpetology, Dustin works with reptiles, amphibians, fish, & invertebrates and oversees the Zoo’s Cypress Swamp, Streamside and Desert habitats. He received his Bachelor’s of Arts at the University of South Florida. Dustin has worked at the North Carolina Zoo for almost six years and his hometown is Miami, Florida. With more than 20 years of experience working in zoos, he is also involved with several conservation efforts both locally and internationally to help save species, including the Appalachian Hellbender and the elusive and rare silver boa.
Zoo Curator – Mammals
As the curator of mammals, Jenn oversees the care for many of the Zoo's iconic animals: primates, big and small cats, marine mammals, giraffes and many others! She manages animals and staff in the Zoo’s Rocky Coast (polar bears, seals/sea lions) Forest Glade (Gorillas), Kitera Forest (Chimps), ZOG (Zebra, Ostrich, Giraffe) habitats. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts from State University at New York College at Oswego. Jenn has worked at the North Carolina Zoo for 22 years and her hometown is Bath, New York. Under Jenn's leadership, the Zoo is recognized as a leader in chimpanzee management in the zoo community and was one of the first to pioneer the use of fission-fusion social management. Read more about her work with chimp management and the challenging integration of Chimp Kendall.
Animal Supervisor, Rocky Coast
Sally is the Animal Supervisor for the Zoo’s Rocky Coast habitats. In her role, she works with all the “chill” animals: polar bears, seals, sea lions, arctic foxes and sea birds. Sally has Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from the Florida Institute of Technology. Sally has worked at the North Carolina Zoo for almost six years and her hometown is Hillsville, Virginia.
Animal Supervisor, Elephants
Nancy is the Animal Supervisor for our African elephants, a big job! In her role, she manages the keeper elephant team and six African elephants, all with big personalities. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Animal Biotechnology and Conservation Wildlife Management from Delaware Valley University. Nancy has worked at the North Carolina Zoo for three years and her hometown is Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.
Zoo Keeper, Cypress Swamp
Audrey is a keeper at the Zoo’s Cypress Swamp habitat. In her role, she works with the Zoo’s reptile and amphibians, including her favorite, the threatened and federally protected Eastern Indigo snake. She has a Bachelor’s of Biology and Chemistry Minor from UNC Chapel Hill and a degree in Animal Technology from Santa Fe Teaching Zoo in Gainesville, Florida. She has worked at the North Carolina Zoo for five years and her hometown is Mocksville, North Carolina. Read more about Audrey’s work with Eastern Indigo snakes.
Zoo Keeper, Desert
Kim is a keeper in the Desert habitat, which includes working with some of the smaller, but mighty, animals such as sand cats, vampire bats, ocelots and one very special porcupine. She has a Bachelor’s of Psychology from Ohio State University. Kim has worked at the zoo for twelve years and her hometown is Akron, Ohio.
Zoo Keeper, Bears, Red Wolves, Prairie Animals
Alexis is a keeper at the Zoo’s Northwoods and Prairie habitats. In her role, she works with the Zoo’s All-American animals: grizzly and black bears, American red wolves and many prairie animals including bison and elk. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ecology and Environmental Biology from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. She has worked at the North Carolina Zoo for three years and her hometown is Stanfield, North Carolina. Read more about her work with the Zoo's black bears.
Zoo Keeper, Rhinos, Hoof Stock
Tiffany is a keeper on the Zoo’s Watani Grasslands and cares for the Zoo’s rhino crash (including rhino Olivia, a particularly prickly older one) and African hoof stock. She has an Associate’s Degree in Zoo Science from Davidson Community College. She has worked at the zoo for eight years and her hometown is Lexington, North Carolina.
Zoo Keeper, Chimps, Lions, Lemurs
Jenni is a zookeeper for the chimps, lions and lemurs. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of Virginia. Jenni has worked at the zoo for 15 years and has longtime relationships with the chimps and watched Reilly the male lion age into a distinguished (and sometimes cranky) old man. A "navy brat" that has lived all over, her family is from Pendleton County, West Virginia. Read more about her experience encouraging mating between Reilly and female lion Mekita by forming a love triangle which involved poop.
Zoo Keeper, Chimps, Lions, Lemurs
Kristy is a keeper for the zoo’s chimps, lions and lemurs. She has an Associate’s Degree in Zoo Science from Davidson Community College. Kristy’s hometown is Troy, North Carolina which is right up the road, so she grew up visiting the North Carolina Zoo. She has worked at the zoo for three and a half years.