While at the Zoo we asked her some questions:
Q. When did your interest in animals begin?
A. I have always had an interest in animals. My father was a fan of Elmer Aldridge, famous for his research on birds. I think that is where my interest began.
Q. Do you ever use events or people from your zookeeping days in your books?
A. Only one person in my books is based on a real person. I can tell you that Arnie is the character, but I don’t think I should give away who the real person is. Also, my books are certainly based on experiences and knowledge that I learned as a zookeeper as well as what I learn from current zookeepers.
Q. What animal are you looking forward to seeing at the Sacramento Zoo?
A. I just saw the Red Pandas and they were amazing; I also plan to stop and see the Black and White Ruffed Lemurs.
Q. Do you have a favorite zoo?
A. Portland Zoo is my home zoo, but really my favorite is whichever zoo I happen to be in at the moment. So, right now it is the Sacramento Zoo.
Q. What conservation message would you pass on to our audience?
A. I would encourage people to fight to leave natural habitats alone. Every community has tough issues at hand when considering natural habitats, but they should still do what they can to preserve those habitats.
Q. Do you have a particular animal story that you like sharing?
A. I certainly have an intense experience that I remember well. In Portland an Indonesian sailor got off a ship with a young orangutan and tried to sell it to the zoo. Of course this was illegal, so the orangutan was confiscated and ended up in our care at the Portland Zoo because we were the closest facility equipped to take care of him. I remember holding this orangutan, knowing that the mother had been killed in order for it to get to us. Later the orangutan went to Cincinnati where he became a daddy.
For more information on her books, please visit Ann Littlewood's website.
Zoo Director Mary Healy with author Ann Littlewood