Animal Advocate

Some children voice their desires to be a firefighter or a doctor when they grow up, maybe even a superhero. Samantha Capparelli knew from a very young age that she wanted to save species.
Words by Sandy Lindsey | June 27, 2019 | People

“Every day as I drive into work at Zoo Miami, I can hear the lions caroling, the tigers chuffing, the gibbons singing and the birds chirping. That beautiful sound of life is the daily inspiration that keeps me going.”

Born and raised less than five miles from Zoo Miami, visits to see the animals were a staple in Samantha Capparelli’s childhood. “My desire for a career working with exotic animals was heavily influenced by the incredible research breakthroughs of Primatologist Jane Goodall, and the enthusiasm and passion of saving species by local wildlife expert Ron Magill,” she says. “I never would have imagined myself anywhere but on the frontlines of animal care as a zoo keeper — I was convinced that was my destiny. There is not a stronger feeling than building a connection and relationship of trust with chimps and gorillas, lion and tigers, elephants and rhinos. It is a nirvana few get to experience.” She had it all, yet knew she was meant to do more. As Development Coordinator for Annual Giving at the Zoo Miami Foundation, she is a proud advocate for animals who don’t have a voice. “I love being the catalyst to change the way the community at large views animals in captivity,’” she says. “ It’s invigorating to share the wonders of the world with people unable to travel and see it themselves.” Zoo Miami Foundation exists in a private/public partnership to fiscally support Zoo Miami’s mission to encourage an appreciation for the world’s wildlife. “Without funding, there’s no saving species,” she says. “Do not boycott your local wildlife park, accredited zoo or aquarium. They are all working together to save our home — planet Earth.”