NOTE: This podcast was recorded in December of 2016. Consequently when myself and Anaka say “next year” we are referring to 2017.
Anaka Nazareth – Manger of Animal Training at Maymont.
Anaka Nazareth has always been passionate about animals, but it was not until she entered the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College that she discovered her ideal career. Having a fair amount of experience working with animals, but little to no experience training them, Anaka was immediately captivated by the science behind and application of positive reinforcement training, and she became dedicated to using this type of training to enhance the welfare of animals.
Upon graduating from Moorpark, Anaka took a position at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in California where she worked predominantly with California sea lions, Pacific harbor seals, and Asian small-clawed otters. From there she travelled to Austria where she worked at the Animal Training Center (ATC) with a variety of animals ranging from marmosets and wallabies to horses and dogs. Training animals for wildlife education shows and teaching people about training through Chicken Camps were just a few of the opportunities that Anaka had while working at the ATC.
Anaka then returned to school to obtain a Master’s degree in Animal Behavior and Conservation from Hunter College in New York City. During this time she was involved in multiple research projects studying wild dolphins, both in The Bahamas and in France, but her interest in animal training never lessened and positive reinforcement training became the focus of her Master’s thesis.
All of this education and experience led Anaka to her current position as the Manager of Animal Training at Maymont, a zoological facility in Richmond, Virginia. In this role, Anaka has the opportunity to facilitate the design and implementation of training programs for a wide range of animals, including black bears, bison, screech owls, and aquatic turtles, along with many others.
Whether Anaka is studying or working, she strives to stay current in the animal training field and frequently attends conferences and workshops, such as the Animal Behavior Management Alliance annual conference, Karen Pryor’s ClickerExpo, and Steve Martin and Dr. Susan Friedman’s Contemporary Animal Training and Management workshop.