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Go Behind the Scenes with Custodian Supervisor James Moore

Custodian Supervisor James Moore’s experience as a referee and a student of psychology inform his work at the Zoo.

Custodian Supervisor James Moore is a lifelong Angeleno and Zoo fan. “In elementary school, we had field trips here, and my parents would bring me here. I’ve seen the front entryway get changed several different times,” he says, noting the version of the entrance that was used in the opening credits of Three’s Company. He was different back then, too. “I was a wild child, reckless,” he remembers. “I suffered a few things with the consequences of my actions, but it also taught me.”

Over time, he changed, just like the Zoo he loves. He credits his growth to coaches and teachers who told him he had potential, and now he tries to pass on that type of encouragement. “I love to see if I can help somebody,” he explains, “to make a person feel good. If I see a person with a frown on their face, I like to lift them up.”

For Moore, the Zoo is the perfect place to do that. The veteran City employee appreciates the years he’s spent investing in the Zoo to make it great for guests. “In the morning times, I get to take walks when nobody is here and just get in touch with everything. This is a place of conservation. It’s all about the cycle of nature, how different things blend and how we behave with the environment.”

Environment is important to him as a custodian supervisor. Of his team, he observes, “They know they’re doing something positive, making the place immaculate for guests.” But they don’t do it alone. As a supervisor, he’s proud to lead by example. “Let’s get in here and do this together. I’ll get out and help out,” he says. “Why call somebody else, if I’m not doing anything at that present moment, to take care of that particular job? I like to motivate people.”

It’s the Zoo itself that motives Moore. “I love it here,” he reiterates. “Yeah, you deal with whatever issues are going on, but being around nature takes me away from the aggravation of it. This is like no other place in the city to work.”