Stepping off the plane onto Costa Rica’s soil, in the winter of 2008, I made a fool of myself. I followed the stream of people hurrying out of the airport and found a young heavily bearded Caucasian man holding a DANTA sign. Around him was a harem of young girls around my age. I was one of the last people to arrive. I had just caught the last part of my peers stories. They had all shared their enthusiasm for conservation – a passion that I share as well. They had also all mentioned their eagerness and excitement for not only seeing, but studying wild primates intensively for the next three weeks. I told the group, “I don’t even like primates. I just came to experience a Central American rainforest and see my favorite animals in the wild: sloths.”
I then found out that the young heavily bearded man, was Tim Eppley, an adjunct instructor for the DANTA Primate course I was about to take.
Prior to going to Costa Rica I had studied abroad in Australia for six months. Both of these abroad trips centered around animals and fulfilled my special major in college, which I created with the help of two mentors and dean: Animal Behavior.
Immediately after college I worked for three different zoological facilities over the course of five years.
I was always closely associated with the education departments as well as animal husbandry. In addition to educating visitors on conservation, animal behavior, training and communication I have cared for a large range of taxonomic species. I have trained and cared for octopi, penguins, sharks, eagles, hawks, owls, parrots, porcupines, farm animals, a tamandua and my favorite: sloths.
In addition to obtaining my bachelor’s degree in animal behavior I was recently certified as professional bird trainer through the International Avian Trainers Certification Board. I am a weekly pet columnist, magazine contributor and have authored a children’s book titled “A Tenrec Named Trey (And other odd-lettered animals that like to play).”
Please search “Critter Companions by Kenny Coogan” on Facebook to learn more.
Welcome Kenny! Can’t wait to read about conservation and training, you are the expert in it!