David Rehak Suma, Educational Animal Keeper
Favorite Animal? For the past two summers, I have been fortunate enough to raise our Black-Tailed Sitka Deer fawns. This experience has shown me how playful the fawns can be and how the proper upbringing can influence the behavior of the deer. They are also the cutest animals on the planet.
Where are you from? I was born and raised in Rockford, Illinois.
Education? Carroll University, Waukesha, Wisconsin; Major: Animal Behavior Minor: Biology and Photography
Aspirations? Prior to deciding a major, I knew I wanted to help the less fortunate. I spent time working with people, but it was the plight of those who could not fight for themselves which I decided I wanted to work for. I began my career looking to be involved in endangered species conservation. Little did I know that, in 2015, AWCC would provide me with that opportunity. The Wood Bison Restoration Project gave me hope: it was tangible evidence that, even when all else is lost, hope remains. A species once declared extinct is now well on the road to recovery and was more than just a miracle.
What has AWCC done for you? While the Wood Bison Restoration Project has been a highlight of my time at AWCC, I have since been able to share this story with hundreds of visitors. I have also been able to share the stories of the animals I have provided for. From wrangling musk ox to herding reindeer, the opportunities AWCC has given me are more than I could have ever expected. I am infinitely grateful to the people here who have taught me so much, and have made the center feel like home.
Plans after this? As of now, I live at AWCC’s bunkhouse, located above the moose and fox enclosures. I soon hope to establish residency in Alaska (approximately 354 days from now). At that point, I will finally be able to call myself an Alaskan, and I can only hope I will still call myself an employee of the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.
Molly Fifield, Animal Care Intern
Favorite Animal? AWCC: Our brown bear, Joe Boxer (JB), our moose, Tok, and our black bear cub, Kobuk Overall: Great Horned Owl
Where are you from? Sunapee, New Hampshire
Education? Arizona State University Major: Applied Biological Sciences (Applied Ecology) with a certificate in Wildlife Management
Aspirations? I would like to better the lives of wildlife and educate future generations about the importance of environmental conservation, as well as foster interest and excitement about nature and wildlife.
How do you hope AWCC will help you accomplish your aspirations? Through my experiences here at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, I hope to continue to educate about wildlife, as well as gain experiences by caring for and working with the unique array of animals who call Alaska and AWCC home. With this also being my first visit to Alaska, my time here provides an amazing opportunity to see and experience things that are truly a once in a lifetime experience. Working at AWCC also provides the chance to connect with peers in my field from around the U.S. who each have their own unique experiences. From these peers, I can learn and add to my own knowledge.
Favorite part so far? My favorite part about working at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center would have to be feeding our black and brown bears. They each have their own unique personalities, and being able to see an animal that would otherwise be inaccessible every day is an amazing experience. I also enjoy leading educational programs for a variety of our animals.
Plans after this? Now that I have finally graduated, I would like to continue doing exactly what I am doing at AWCC! My passion lies with the educational aspect of wildlife conservation, and I hope to continue improving my skills and building my experience in the field of wildlife.
*Keep checking for more information about our Animal Care Staff!