Q. Who started Live Animal Adventures?
A. Jennifer Westhoff
Jennifer is a Master Falconer, Wildlife Rehabilitator, Advanced Open Water Diver, Teacher, Naturalist, Scientific Illustrator, Wildlife Artist and occasionally slave to fashion. You may have met her as one of the Co-owners of the Luray Zoo.
While attending college in Philadelphia, she won the Emily Sartain Fellowship Grant due to her expertise as a scientific illustrator and wildlife artist. This Fellowship Grant allowed her to travel to East Africa where she observed the antelope playing and confided all of her personal secrets to a wild black mamba she met. Upon her return she then graduated with a B.F.A in Scientific Illustration.
Over the last 19 years she has worked for institutions such as: the Smithsonian of Natural History, Zoos, Nature Centers and held positions including Naturalist, Director of Education, Animal Care supervisor, and Zoo Owner/Curator.
A capricious look at her background...
Contrary to popular belief, Jennifer was born at the very beginning of her life. To her benefit she was taken in and raised by a small family of eastern lowland mountain gorillas. To encourage her creativity, the gorillas never provided coloring books for her. During the day when the gorillas were out on forging trips, Jennifer entertained herself by observing the amphibians, reptiles and small creatures around her. Both of these well thought out actions by the gorilla family greatly influenced her life.
During her working years she was introduced to a pod of dolphins which taught her the ways of the oceans and she earned an Advanced Open Water Divers certificate. Her gift of teaching nature and its wildlife to young humans earned her a Mayors’ Citation from Baltimore City. She was especially overjoyed when she was able to work and teach animal programs alongside of one her childhood favorites, Jim Fowler from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. After many years of having close friends who are owls, eagles, hawks and falcons, they and the states of Maryland and Virginia have also given her the title, privilege and license to call herself a Master Falconer.
Today and since the year 1991, Jennifer is honored to speak on behalf of her most favorite thing - ANIMALS! She can be seen presenting animal programs to fellow humans all over the state of Virginia. In the summer she enjoys looking for rattlesnakes, playing in the mud with toads and teaching people how truly awesome they are!
During the winter months her heart rate and metabolism slow down and she enjoys several months of hibernation on a thick bed of leaves high in a tree that her gorilla family kindly taught her to make.
*Some of this information is made-up but the majority of it is true.
Ok, if you’re wondering, the gorilla thing is made-up. But I still believe my younger brother was raised by apes - that’s why he is so smart.