Meet the ZooAmerica Team: Ashley Jones

Hi! My name is Ashley, and I am a part-time Zoo Naturalist. Next month, I will celebrate my 9th anniversary of working at ZooAmerica. Time flies when you’re having fun! 

We certainly have fun at the zoo, but we put in plenty of hard work to make sure we are providing top-notch quality care to the animals who call the zoo home. You will typically find me all over the zoo as I will fill in to help care for any of the animals you see in our public spaces. Some of my favorite tasks at the zoo include making animal diets and training some of our residents. 

I have a Bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in Ecology and Environmental Biology. I am passionate about the conservation of our natural world and the wildlife who call it home. One of my goals is to get more involved in the different conservation projects the zoo has established. I feel so lucky to be part of such an amazing team, and I hope you enjoy getting to meet all of us. We hope to see you at the zoo!

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

I love to travel and explore other countries and cultures. I have been to every continent except Africa and Antarctica, but I hope to check them off my list someday. I have been to almost 15 countries, and I hope to grow that number. My most visited country is Australia, which I have been to many times since my husband’s side of the family lives there.

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

Besides spending tons of time with so many incredible animals, what I love about what I do is having the opportunity to share my passion for these animals with our guests. I hope that seeing our ambassadors will inspire the masses to care about what is happening to their wild counterparts. If I can help people make the connection to care about the wildlife around them, then I consider it a job well done. I am also passionate about using positive reinforcement training to have our animals learn behaviors that help with their daily care and when they need to see our veterinary team.

Who's your favorite animal?

This is a question we often get, and I love all the animals for various reasons, but if I absolutely had to choose, it’s a tie between the martens and the mountain lions.

What is the craziest or the best thing that has happened to you at ZooAmerica?

One of the craziest and best things that has happened to me at ZooAmerica is having the privilege of raising Rainier, the mountain lion, from a 5-week-old cub to the gorgeous 7 ½-year-old cat he is today. I’ve watched him grow, and in the last few years, I’ve watched him learn as we’ve worked together to teach him behaviors to participate in his husbandry and health care actively. I’ve had many highlights in my time at ZooAmerica so far, but I am overjoyed at the number of babies I’ve had a hand in raising, from a mountain lion to a ringtail to many pronghorn fawns. They’re hard work and make us very tired, but they are so worth it!

Favorite Quote

 “If you can be anything, be kind.”