Chase Reinert bottle-feeds a baby joey during her visit to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital. Now an OWU freshman, Reinert won the trip while in high school. (Photo courtesy of Chase Reinert)

Wildlife Warrior

Chase Reinert ’22 Earns Shadowing Opportunity at Australia Zoo, Meets Irwin Family

By Erin Ross '20

Name: Chase Reinert ’22
Majors: Zoology and Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Hometown: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Experience: Shadowing staff at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and meeting the Irwin family.

Reinert signed up in high school to be a Visionary Wildlife Warrior through the Australia Zoo. She then entered and won the zoo’s 2017 Readathon fundraising competition, raising $1,737.16 AUD. For her prize, she earned the trip of a lifetime, shadowing staff at the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital and meeting Terri, Bindi, and Robert Irwin, stars of the TV series, “Crikey! It’s the Irwins.”

Unique opportunities

“Because of my love of animals and dream to be a wildlife veterinarian, Wildlife Warriors offered me the chance to shadow at the wildlife hospital. …

“I got to bottle-feed a baby joey, hold a baby brushtail possum, take X-rays of a koala and test it for chlamydia, and examine a snake that had been attacked by a dog. It was a day filled with unforgettable experiences that I hope will one day be my everyday job.

My favorite moment

My favorite memory of the experience has to be talking to the Irwins like we were old friends. I will never forget this day. We could have talked for hours sharing animal experience stories. In addition, Terri also told my mom that she approved of Robert marrying me one day. A week later, Robert followed me on Instagram, making the whole experience even better.”

Chase Reinert (right) met Robert and Bindi Irwin and their mother, Terri, during her trip to Australia. They are the children of Steve Irwin, known worldwide as the Crocodile Hunter before his death in 2006. (Photo courtesy of Chase Reinert)

Lessons learned

“The most important lesson I learned is that people are always nervous to meet their idols because they believe they are not just ordinary people. When you meet your idol, you realize they are just a human like you. Despite this, it is still an amazing feeling to meet someone who you have admired since you were young.”

Why I chose Ohio Wesleyan

“Ohio Wesleyan has a very well-known zoology program, along with many opportunities to go abroad. … I am planning on doing as many Theory-to-Practice Grants as I can, and I am eager to do some Travel-Learning Courses. … Ohio Wesleyan also has a very pet-friendly campus.”

My plans after graduation

“After graduation, I intend to go to veterinary school to become a wildlife veterinarian. My dream job location is the state-of-the-art Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital. I couldn't help smiling when I was shadowing the veterinarians there. I have been to multiple wildlife hospitals and have never seen one that was so advanced.”