Black in Nature: Featuring Jordan Veasley
This post is part of “Black in Nature: Tackling Diversity in Conservation,” a Black History Month series giving Black people who work in animal care and conservation a platform to share their experiences and spark the conversation necessary for change. Learn more here.
You might know Jordan Veasley by his popular moniker, Jungle Jordan. Jordan is a Zoo Keeper & Science Communicator at Cougar Mountain Zoo and wildlife educator for his own channel, Jungle Jordan. He uses social media as a platform to educate about wildlife and inspire others to follow their own passions.
“Being black in the animal care field is extremely important to me,” shares Jordan. “I feel I am in a very unique position with the opportunity to inspire younger generations to become whatever they aspire to be. Kids should feel they can follow their dreams without having to think about whether or not they belong in that dream because of how they look.”
Jordan says that he has felt alone in the animal care field, but has used his position to be vocal and visible so everyone around will know the passion he has for animals. He is proud to be able to speak to hundreds of people about the animals he works with and get them just as excited about them as he is.
“Seeing groups of under privileged kids enjoying animals just like I do means everything to me!” says Jordan.
Jungle Jordan feels that there is not enough diversity in this field, and that he wants to change that. He suggests more opportunities for paid internships and free advanced schooling to help low-income families join the STEM community. He also hopes that increased visibility and representation will show others that they are welcome.
“Using social media is my way to show the next generation that we are represented in the wildlife field. Representation matters.”
Jordan feels that the biggest challenge wildlife faces is the effect of humans on the planet and the challenge of increasing public awareness about our effect.
“Explaining to people how we are damaging and destroying the natural world at times is like speaking to a wall,” shares Jordan. “Nobody is willing to listen or understand unless they are shown examples right to their face.”
Jungle Jordan’s channel does just that, and his educational videos are enjoyed by tens of thousands of subscribers across multiple platforms. If you want to follow Jungle Jordan you can find him on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, and Tik Tok.