Ken Ramirez, executive vice-president of animal care and animal training, develops and supervises animal care programs, staff training and development as well as public presentation programs for the entire animal collection at Shedd Aquarium. He joined Shedd Aquarium in 1989.
A 35+ year veteran of zoological animal care and training, Ramirez is a biologist and animal behaviorist who served nine years at Marineworld of Texas. He was also a trainer and coordinator at ocean Safari in South padre Island, Texas, as well as a consultant to many zoo and aquarium programs throughout the world. He began his training career working with guide dogs for the visually impaired and has maintained a close affiliation to pet training throughout his career. He hosted two seasons of the pet training television series Talk to the animals that compares pet training to the important work done with training and caring for animals in zoological facilities. He has also worked closely with several search and rescue dog organizations as well as with bomb and narcotic dogs.
Ramirez has been active in several professional organizations, including the International Marine animal Trainer’s association (IMaTa), of which he is a past president, and the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding network, where he served on the board of directors for nearly 15 years. He also has served on the board of the American Cetacean Society. ken is actively involved in the creation of a certification process for animal trainers in zoo settings. He is also on the faculty of the annual Karen Pryor Clicker expos—designed to introduce advances in positive reinforcement to the world.
Ramirez has written for several scientific publications, including Marine Mammals: public Display and Research and Soundings, the IMaTa Quarterly. He teaches a graduate course on animal training at Western Illinois University and has authored the book ANIMAIL TRAINING: Successful Animal Management through Positive Reinforcement, published in 1999.