Ryan Taylor ’05 works in dream job at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

top-disney-zookeeperFrom the frigid cold temperatures of Green Bay to the warm climate of Central Florida, Ryan Taylor has made a career out of his love for animals.

Looking for a change in weather, Taylor took a job in 2008 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, one of the largest animal theme parks in the world, as an animal keeper, taking care of hoofed stock like giraffes and zebras on the Safari.

Taylor is trained in all areas of the West Savannah team and works with each of the animals. Part of his job of taking care of the animals includes feeding, cleaning, medical, observing, recording and communicating about them.

“It’s literally a dream job,” Taylor said. “I get to work with animals at Disney World. I was a Disney kid growing up so the perks are pretty sweet. And working for Disney allows for a lot of career opportunities, like my research.”

He also takes care of the Greater Flamingos and is involved in a research study based on color patterns and social behavior. Taylor participates in wildlife bird monitoring surveys and is the leader for monitoring bluebird nest boxes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Before working at Disney, Taylor was involved in many organizations during his undergraduate studies. He is a UW-Green Bay 2005 alumnus with a degree in Biology with an emphasis in animal and field biology.

A work-study experience at Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, got him a start. There he participated in all of the animal husbandry that was involved with the job, from exhibit maintenance and animal rehabilitation, to medical procedures and interacting with the guests. A summer internship there gave him experience in rehabilitating orphaned, sick and injured animals and taking care of them or placing them under foster care.

“Working at the Wildlife Sanctuary gave me more than four years of helpful experience that is needed to move ahead in the animal care field. I worked with all types of native animals in all types of ways, which gave me excellent experience,” Taylor said.

“As long as I can remember I have always loved animals and have always wanted to be a zookeeper,” Taylor said. “Studying animal biology at UWGB and working in the field at the same time seemed to be the best way for me to achieve my goal. It allowed me to experience society and the world on my own, away from home. It got me to where I am today.”

Story by Cheyenne Makinia, editorial intern, Marketing and University Communication