Meet the Keepers

Elephant Care Team


Meet the dedicated professionals who care for the elephants on a daily basis.


Name: Laura Bottaro

Title: Curator of Mammals

Tenure: 18 years

Residence: Norman, OK

As Curator of Mammals, Laura oversees the care of the Zoo's mammal collection, including elephants. She works with the pachyderm team as needed for scheduling, problem-solving and goal-setting. She loves everything about elephants and is excited for the OKC residents who have waited for the return of the elephants and can't wait to see their reactions! 

 

Name: Nick Newby

Title: Animal Area Supervisor, Pachyderm

Tenure: 4 ½ years

Residence: Edmond, OK

As Supervisor of the Pachyderm department, Nick oversees the daily operations in the elephant habitat, including cleaning, feeding, training and any medical work that needs to be done. He enjoys training and building relationships with the elephants, and is very excited to show the community that the Zoo is very committed to elephants, especially through the breeding capabilities of the new habitat.

 

Name: Dorothy Forman

Title: Animal Technician, Pachyderm

Tenure: 9 years

Residence: Oklahoma City, OK

As an animal technician, Dorothy helps with the daily upkeep and husbandry training of the elephants. She enjoys how intelligent elephants are – how they think through things and solve different problems with their different personalities. She loves the new elephant habitat because of all the opportunities the elephants have to act naturally, whether it’s the expanded room for walking or the multiple enrichment capabilities now available.

 

Name: Shawn Finnell

Title: Animal Technician, Pachyderm

Tenure: 2 ½ years

Residence: Oklahoma City, OK

As an animal technician, Shawn helps with the daily upkeep and husbandry training of the elephants – from baths, foot care, cleaning of stalls and preparing diets to anything else that needs doing around the habitat. He enjoys building relationships with the elephants and is excited for the daily elephant behavioral presentations, which give the keepers the opportunity to pass along a conservation message through these fascinating animals!

 

Name: Toni Rife

Title: Animal Technician, Pachyderm

Tenure: 6 ½ years

Residence: Bethany, OK

As an animal technician, Toni helps with the daily upkeep and husbandry training of the elephants. She is excited for the new habitat opening because she knows the best way to appreciate animals is to have some kind of connection to them. Whether it’s through the daily behavioral presentations or keeper chats, she looks forward to educating guests about why elephants are important and teaching them about the value of these wonderful animals!

 

Name: Brian Frank

Title: Animal Technician, Pachyderm

Tenure: 6 months

Hometown: Wabasso, MN  Residence: Oklahoma City, OK

One of the new faces to the pachyderm team, Brian works as an animal technician, helping with the daily upkeep and husbandry training of the elephants. He enjoys the challenge of working with such intelligent animals and is excited to show Oklahoma and the world what a great facility the Zoo has, and the strides the Zoo is making towards elephant conservation. 

 

Name: Katie Taylor

Title: Animal Technician, Pachyderm

Tenure: 6 months

Hometown: Appleton, WI  Residence: Oklahoma City, OK

Another new animal technician in the pachyderm department, Katie assists with the daily upkeep and husbandry training of the elephants. She is excited for the opportunity to work in a brand new, state-of-the-art facility. She enjoys learning the different personalities of the elephants – finding out their habits and quirks and working with them to figure things out!

 

 




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The Zoo is a fully accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the American Association of Museums (AAM) as both a living museum and a botanical garden. AZA accredited facilities are dedicated to providing excellent care for their plants and animals, a great experience for guests and a better future for all living things.

A New Breath of Fresh Air: As of Nov. 1, 2007, state law prohibits smoking inside zoological parks. Please help us abide by this law by refraining from smoking within the Zoo. Thank you for maintaining a smoke-free environment for all living things!