Natasha Wierzal


Conservation & Science


Animal Welfare Science Program


ZooMonitor Research Coordinator


B.S. – Biological Sciences, DePaul University

Areas of Expertise

  • Animal welfare
  • Behavioral monitoring
  • Volunteer management


Natasha coordinates the ongoing behavioral data collection on zoo grounds for more than 30 species. Data collected through this program fuels the Animal Welfare Science Program. Natasha works closely with the zoo’s volunteer program to train volunteers to reliably collect behavioral data using the ZooMonitor app. She assists with analyzing the data that is collected and sharing the insights gained from the data with Animal Care staff to promote animal welfare.

Natasha also helps collect and analyze data from other animal welfare projects, such as monitoring the effects of environmental conditions (i.e. light, sound, temperature, etc.) on animal welfare and conducting behavioral observations of animals in their off-exhibit spaces. Natasha worked as a ZooMonitor intern and an animal welfare intern at Lincoln Park Zoo prior to her start as the ZooMonitor research coordinator.

Prior to joining Lincoln Park Zoo, Natasha worked in the evolutionary biology lab at DePaul University. While there, she first worked on a project examining vertebral length variation in different stickleback fish species and their closest relatives. The following year, she worked to develop a geographical phylogeny for a species of fish endemic to Ecuador.