My name is Karen Povey and I am passionate about (okay, obsessed with) clouded leopards. The funny thing is, though, that I never saw it coming. After a satisfying fifteen-year career working with wild cats of all sorts (except cloudies) I took a new position at what was largely a cat-free Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in 1998. Much as I was saddened at the thought of my cat days being behind me, I was excited about the new adventures that lay ahead in the Pacific Northwest .
However, that cat itch just wouldn't die. It didn't take long for me to convince our general curator (thanks Dr. Brian!) that what Point Defiance's burgeoning education animal programming needed was a cat. As luck would have it, my dear friend Penny had an infant clouded leopard available from her breeding facility. For years Penny had told me what amazing cats they were and so at long last I got my own paws on one. Little did I know what impact baby Raja would have on my life. He was the catalyst for our ever-growing crusade to spread the word about clouded leopards in order to safeguard their wild populations.
The spark ignited by that little furball twelve years ago has continued to burn ever brighter, altering the course of both my professional career and personal life. I now serve as the Education Advisor to the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan and am a co-founder, President, and CEO of the Clouded Leopard Project. Since my first day working in this field I've counted my blessings that I am one of the fortunate few who gets to get up and pursue my passion every day. I'm looking forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences with our ever-growing family of clouded leopard fans.
In case you're interested...
Here's a brief overview of the nuts and bolts of my background. I studied Zoology at the University of California, Davis. (Animal lovers take note: this school rocks for getting hands-on animal experience through all sorts of volunteer opportunities.) While in school, I secured an internship at Marine World Africa USA in the San Francisco Bay area. This led to a full-time position upon graduation (much to the dismay of my parents who expected better than a minimum wage job for their tuition investment). After fifteen years full of learning and laughter (I mean, come on... I got paid to swim with a water buffalo), I left for Point Defiance. I've been at the Zoo for thirteen years and up until recently served as Senior Staff Biologist at the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater. I'm now Associate Curator of Education and Conservation. Along the way I earned a Master's degree in Education at the University of Washington that has been a huge asset for the community education projects I'm working on in Asia. I've been fortunate to have an exciting and wonderful career working with exciting and wonderful people and animals!