Jeb is a zookeeper.  He loves his job!

As one of a great team, Jeb Barsh is a highly dedicated keeper who loves his work today more than ever. He worked in the elephant barn for years before moving in 2012 to the African Savanna Exhibit. Creative, quick witted and passionate about saving endangered species, Jeb has worked with animals in one way or another since childhood. He is a husband and father and sees the similarities between human relations and relating to animals. Caring is caring. 

Here’s what Jeb has to say about his relationship with Rama.

Rama was a remarkable animal, and it has been a great pleasure to work with him. I remain his greatest fan and am honored to have come to know him as a partner. His utter abandon and cooperation inspired those that were lucky enough to witness him work. He brightened upon the sight of us. He became a successful artist. We choreographed and he cooperated with enthusiasm. He thrust himself toward the outcome, in faith, so it seems to me, and his paint exploded on the canvas – a dance. I searched for purpose for Rama and found it in this work. 

We were human and elephant engaged in a joyous transfer of energy that unexpectedly produced a unique body of work. From the brink of extinction, he joins trunk to hand to canvas to you – to inspire all children to act upon their innate instinct to nurture each other and all the creatures of this planet.

Dear friend,   I cannot appropriately express the depth of my love, nor the oceans of respect I harbor for you and your vision. Thank you dearest Cally, and the entire Rama Exhibition team!! YOU DID IT!!! Please sense the rainbow of purist light I send from this origin space to your visionary accomplishment space. I consider you now at this threshold, waiting for the gates to open, to behold for yourselves the response of those important persons viewing your and Rama's work.  Each by attendance endeavoring, by presence and understanding, to rectify the serious conditions we find ourselves in, planet wide, here in the year 2016. Wow! This is it! The most important gathering of environmentalists, scientists, and politicians on our planet earth EVER and I smile from the heart. I send respect, admiration, and hope to all in attendance at the IUCN and may each find solution and coalition to the betterment of our precious bio-diversity. The planet and I are counting on your successes!  Jeb
Calley O'Neill
Back to Rama or Calley
 An International Traveling Exhibition of Endangered Species 
Dedicated to the Children of the World by Calley O'Neill with Rama the Elephant 
Speaking Passionately on Behalf of Those who Cannot Speak
Oregon Zookeeper
I have been asked by friends and people that knew Rama- ‘Did I plan to write about him at some point?’ I always said that I would. I am working through the complicated nuances held within his life and his passing to distill exactly how I could do him and those who knew him the justice within the story he and they deserve to have told.  

In the processes of living beside Rama as one of his keepers in captive management for thirteen years, I have multiple views of his life. There is a story here for sure. I want to be clear that distilling his life into words is both a joy and a sadness for me. I miss him terribly. 

He and all the captive animals of the world hold value beyond comprehension and all the more so with the wild representatives of so many species held globally in ever stressed and shrinking rangelands and the very real peril toward extinction. We live in the time of extinction, and this time, the event is human-driven. 

I take any word put forward for this story with tremendous reflection. I want Rama's life to communicate the great capacity held in an elephant's existence -- within all animals’ existence. I have felt personally the importance held through knowing Rama, with the power in a word put forward to move a heart -- words from which I want you to know Rama as I did. 

For each of us and each of them, those animals under our care and those in-situ, we are the deciding generations and, like it or not, it is our question to answer, ‘What will we do about it’? The answer is ours to decide.
In your knowing what knowing him meant to me a river flows from him, through me, to you. A muted force in nature, Rama is a good boy forever held within my heart. I get the sense that somehow, the story of Rama, translated by me to you is meant toward helping to see the power of one, expanded into the whole, the "is", of our lives and theirs. I Believe! And I will do my best by you Rama. I am so grateful to have known you. My work for you is not yet done...