Meet the Zookeepers — Nick O’Hare
Nick O’Hare shares a love of winter with the species he trains

Caring for Cold-Weather Animals


As one of the largest animals on this continent, the polar bear is an awe-inspiring species.

For Nick O’Hare, the iconic Arctic animal also helped to inspire his career path. It all started when he was just a child and saw the image of a polar bear on a poster.

“Their impressive size is what drew me to them,” he recalled. “They are also the reason I started changing my everyday living and started conserving at a young age.”

Starting with that species, which he said is still his favorite, Nick’s love of animals has only grown since then. With help from his seventh-grade biology teacher, his curiosity about animals and how to care for them thrived. Nick’s passion carried into his collegiate studies where he focused on zoology and zoo animal technology. Now a marine mammals trainer at the Indianapolis Zoo, he shares his knowledge and appreciation of animals.

From sea lions and walrus to tigers and red pandas, Nick has worked with a variety of animals in the Zoo’s Forests and Oceans areas — the species native to colder climates that are active throughout the winter. Interestingly, Nick shares that love of winter with the animals in his care.

Some of his favorite memories, he said, are of moments spent with the animals. By working with them one-on-one, he has formed a unique respect and bond with the animals in his care. Nick hopes everyone who visits the Zoo finds a similar connection.

“I hope everyone that visits the Zoo takes away memories they can share with their friends and families and then those memories can help spark others to want to help these animals and their counterparts in the wild.”

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