Jennifer Chatfield

Jennifer Chatfield has spent all her life around animals.  She began working with horses at a young age, showing hunters and jumpers and grooming and exercising polo ponies to help with the costs of showing.  Deciding she wanted a career with horses, she started working at the racetrack, hotwalking, then grooming horses for major trainers on the Southern California tracks.  Just for fun, and a change, she took an Animal Keeper Training course given at the Los Angeles Zoo.  The class, and the hands on training days with keepers, changed her course and she was soon offered a part time position as an animal keeper.  Within the year, she became a full time keeper, and worked in virtually every area of the zoo.  During her 30 year tenure at the zoo, she specialized in primates, and was the primary gorilla keeper for 20 of those years.   Her years at the zoo included not only the daily care of primates, educational talks with zoo visitors and training new and prospective keepers, but also lecturing students from primary school to college level anthropology students.

Jennifer also presented several papers at International Gorilla Workshops on management and breeding of gorillas, and became involved with conservation efforts and educating the public about the threats to primates in the wild.

Upon her retirement from the zoo, Jennifer was trained and certified as an Animal Safety Monitor with American Humane Association, and worked monitoring film productions.  She has worked hundreds of hours on major films, television shows and commercials, with domestic and exotic animals.

For the last 10 years, Jennifer has also been back in the horse world, doing some work with racehorses, caring for and training her own horses, learning dressage, and grooming for shows.  Recently, she’s also  started working with young lipizzaner horses, beginning their training on the ground and assisting with a trainer on their initial under saddle work.

Over the years, Jennifer has been committed to the welfare of animals, and has dedicated herself to learning how to better the lives of the animals in her care.  She has a well rounded knowledge of animal behavior, training and welfare, and continues to broaden her experience.  Over the years, her commitment to the animals has been consistent, no matter if the animal is a mouse, a horse, a tiger or a gorilla.  They all deserve the best we can do for them.