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A Wild Journey in the Zoo and Aquarium Industry | Thirteen

Vaughn Severin | February 15, 2022

Vaughn Severin operates a boat to aid WCS’s workers photographer capture a wildlife shot. Photo credit score: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS.

This essay arrives to us from the Wildlife Conservation Culture (WCS). To honor Black Historical past Thirty day period, WCS and the PBS sequence Mother nature are sharing six stories of mother nature and conservation.


Black Historical past Thirty day period is a time for me to mirror on my job and assume of techniques to encourage upcoming generations. It reminds me that I have no excuse to not attain the expert targets I have established forth for myself. I recognize the really hard work, sacrifice, and braveness of Black Individuals before me who paved the way for my success at the Wildlife Conservation Modern society, an organization regarded all around the world.

However I have lived in New York for most of my lifestyle, right up until I was 14 a long time previous I lived in Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean. In Dominica, I was surrounded by character. My wander to college took me along a river and in close proximity to farmland, wherever I would commonly see goats, chickens, cows, donkeys, pigs, and other animals. I liked the sights and smells of a farm. When I am doing work about the zoo, it delivers back these childhood reminiscences. It keeps me humble.

I have been at WCS for 13 several years. I started off with a summer occupation as a shuttle driver having people all around WCS’s Bronx Zoo. I’ve usually had an desire in autos and equipment (I ride a Harley Davidson Road King Vintage), and how matters function. I progressively expanded into the extensive complex and mechanical natural environment at the zoo. I participated in educational options to develop into a management position. Now, I get treatment of a fleet of vehicles which include trains, cars, shuttles, golf carts, and other zoo cars. Most persons really do not understand there are career selections like mine at the zoo.

Two, one-story high bright orange representations of octopus tentacles.

Setting up an octopus tentacle installation on the roof the New York Aquarium. Photograph credit rating: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS.

As Supervisor of Ride Upkeep, I ensure the efficient and protected operation of all rides at the Bronx Zoo. I also perform during WCS’s five parks on a variety of projects these types of as network infrastructure, electrical get the job done, and set up of issue-of-sale units. On the artistic side, I just take our employees photographer up in a lift or out on a boat so she can get unique pictures of zoo scenes. Other moments, I have been asked to design in front of the camera for the zoo.

My work improvements each day, which I like. Consider this inter-borough special shipping and delivery, for illustration.

I am all over animals and other fascinating figures each day – even dinosaurs. I was aspect of a crew that transported a fully assembled lifetime-measurement Cryolophosaurus in excess of 20 toes prolonged to Prospect Park Zoo, where it would make men and women informed of a Dino Safari occasion at the Bronx Zoo. We loaded our unusual cargo onto our animal food commissary flatbed truck and headed out on a street journey from the Bronx to Brooklyn.

We begun on the interstate and then took to the area streets for the reason that our load was also significant to crystal clear the area’s bridges. We have been pretty entertaining to the citizens of New York Metropolis – the communicate of the city. Targeted visitors stopped all along our route. We were like superstars. Anyone got out of their cars and trucks and arrived out of their residences to get images. Persons had been asking us when Dino Safari begun. We noticed ourselves on social media in all places. The dinosaur transfer turned out to be a good advertising for the occasion that summer time.

A Black man in dark blue work jumpsuit walks next to life-size fake dinosaur, wrapped mostly in plastic, outdoors.

Vaughn Severin installs the Dinosaur Safari show at the Bronx Zoo. Photo credit history: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS.

It seems like relocating prehistoric creatures could be the most hard element of my work, but essentially, taking care of the zoo’s monorail routine maintenance is number 1. It calls for specific awareness in mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and pneumatic programs as perfectly as physical competencies to climb superior over the Bronx River to service the tracks. And I need to have to keep latest with know-how to manage protected and productive operations for our staff and our attendees.

The Bronx Zoo is its have city in just the town. There are quite a few distinctive moving areas to its functions, which delivers numerous distinctive occupation paths. People intrigued in a job like mine should educate by yourself, commit in your enthusiasm, and increase with the instances. Do one thing that helps make you delighted, concentration your vitality to get to the subsequent level, and be the most effective at what you like. If something is important to you, uncover a way.

There are two folks at WCS who have actually helped me obtain my targets. Chris Papaleo, Director of Admissions and Parking, mentored me to establish professionally. Chris Filomio, Director of Rides for 27 many years, gave me the prospect to even more my knowledge and competencies in the electrical industry. I now have a lot of certifications.

I am most thankful to my mom, who created a really challenging decision—when my brother, sister, and I have been just toddlers—to go to America. She left us driving and labored really hard for many many years, often likely to many employment in 1 day to give her young children a superior lifestyle. With out her sacrifice, the achievements I have today would not have been achievable.

A Black man with beard and fleece jacket reaches to turn on a small light bulb on string of lights on tree trunk. It is nighttime.

Vaughn Severin can help with the Bronx Zoo’s Getaway Lights installation. Picture credit rating: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS.

I’m very pleased that the get the job done I do advantages WCS and has a objective. It has an effect at the zoo, and all over the world, which presents me terrific joy to wake up every early morning and do the factors I appreciate. I hope I am paving the way for other folks.


See a lot more content articles, infographics, podcasts and movie on the official site of Mother nature, an award-winning, signature PBS collection created by The WNET Group. and designed feasible by all of you.

Movie premieres and encores are also element of THIRTEEN’s Black Historical past Month celebration.