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Jaime Racalla

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You could say Jaime  Racalla is tenacious.   Born and raised in Grand Rapids, John Ball Zoo was her home Zoo and she intended to work here.  She took the steps many zookeepers take when following their passion… She went to Michigan State and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and worked as a teaching assistant while earning her degree.  It was what she did in her spare time that makes her determined!   As a teenager Jaime volunteered at John Ball Zoo.  As an adult, she volunteered at John Ball Zoo.  When a maintenance position became available at John Ball Zoo, Jaime applied and got the position.  She was always going to be a Zookeeper at John Ball Zoo and now she is!     Her first year at the Zoo Jaime was known as “mamma flamingo” because she raised a flock of new hatchlings.  It was quite a parade to see them follow behind her to and from their exhibit every day!    When asked what her favorite part of zookeeping is she says “Raising baby birds, of course!  Who wouldn’t like that, right?”   

Jaime married her high school sweetheart, Mark, and lives in Grand Rapids with their pet cockatiel, Snookie.  

Posts by Jaime Racalla


Normally, during a winter here at John Ball Zoo, our North American river otters can still be on exhibit in the cold and snow.  They are a native species that have a fairly large range over North America being found close to any coasts and waterways.  This winter has been a little more challenging as far as getting the otters outside!  We usually have a pool running for them with a bubbler running air bubbles to keep the water open.  This year however, there were some days that the otters just could not go outside; the bubbler and the keepers’ hard work chopping the ice couldn’t keep up with the weeks of low to subzero temperatures forming extremely thick ice.  


SCUBA Diving at John Ball Zoo

Most visitors may not think of this fun fact, but a major part of taking care of our aquarium actually occurs underwater!  I, and several other zookeepers, have gone through SCUBA certification and dive in several of our larger tanks to do cleaning, feeding and some general tank maintenance.