Editor’s Note: FOCUS is a multimedia series that highlights the diversity and depth of our community through interviews and photographs.

Malia Davis was born and raised in Kailua, Oahu.

“From the time I was just a little kid, I spent more time with animals than I spent with people,” she says. “I had everything from chickens, cats, dogs, birds, goats and I had a miniature horse.”

Now Davis spends all day with animals. She has been working with the elephants at the Honolulu Zoo for the past 20 years and with the orangutans for the past 16 years.

In the morning, she greets the Zoo’s orangutans Rusti and Violet with breakfast (usually fruit) and prepares enrichment activities for the day (boomer balls, buckets and sheets). Next, she bathes the elephants and gets them ready for the day.

She enjoys being at the Honolulu Zoo, where it is always sunny, so she can wear shorts to work. Davis explains that’s it very important for children in Hawaii to have exposure to the animal world where they learn to appreciate and protect it.

Listen to Davis’ story:

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