Interview: How to Fight for Elephants with Gina Kinzley
Gina Kinzley is the Lead Elephant Keeper at Oakland Zoo, taking care of four African elephants. She talks about what she does with them every day.
Below is a summary of our interview:
“Just always strive to be your best self” is Gina’s original quote.
As a little girl, Gina always wanted to work with animals. She has four older siblings, and being the youngest led her to like whatever her siblings liked. Therefore, her favorite animal growing up was the wolf. She went to college in San Luis Obispo and studied animal behavior. Gina did an internship at a wolf sanctuary in New Mexico, and luckily, landed at the Oakland Zoo, where she started as a volunteer intern. When she knew nothing about elephants, she began working with them since day 1. After knowing this was what she wanted, Gina’s been there at the Oakland Zoo for 9 years now.
A Low Point
Gina knew she wanted to study behavior, but that path is difficult because it leads to working in either a lab or zoo setting. At the time, she worked for a zoo in San Luis Obispo and that’s when she realized working in the zoo setting was her goal.
Her first day at the Zoo as a volunteer, she knew she was going to be a “lifer” and work with the elephants and fight for them the rest of her career.
Gina’s work now
As the Lead elephant keeper, she gets to observe four African elephants (3 female and 1 male) roam the 6 acres of space just letting them be elephants. She also has to work hard to feeding and fertilizing the grass, as well as the dirty work of cleaning up the poop.
What’s exciting Gina now
One project that Gina is highly active with is getting the word out about a campaign called 96 Elephants. 96 elephants a day are being killed for their ivory. The frequency has become so bad that if we don’t stop this now, elephants could become extinct in 10 to 15 years.
Book Gina Recommends:
“Elephant Memories”[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0226542378″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51-CSsn2Z%2BL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”purposerockst-20″ width=”107″]
Always coming prepared as an intern and in practical life applications.
Her sister in law, Colleen, who has always been a beacon of light and mentor to Gina.
To learn more about elephants, Gina suggested checking out www.marchforelephants.org.
What’s Your Purpose:
Her purpose in life is everything that she’s talked about; working for the greater good and to fight for elephants.
Where to follow Gina