Open 9 am - 5 pm
Kurt Heizmann stands for a photograph in Shedd's Oceanarium.

Kurt Heizmann

Supervisor, Marine Mammals

Kurt Heizmann focuses on the care and training of the California sea lions and birds of prey.


B.S., biology, Augustana College

“Cruz is such an inspirational animal to work with. Knowing that he lost his vision due to human interaction, and seeing how he has adapted to his life at Shedd, truly makes you admire this incredible animal.”

In addition to his responsibilities with the California sea lions and birds of prey, Kurt Heizmann assists with the care of the beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, sea otters and penguins. An experienced scuba diver, he also dives in the Wild Reef shark habitat, assisting with maintenance and feeding the wobbegongs. Heizmann is passionate about the animals in his care as well as their wild counterparts.

With his wide expertise, he is a key member of Shedd’s Animal Response Team. He has helped rescue and rehabilitate animals in urgent need from stranded sea lions in California to beluga calves in Canada to endangered penguin chicks in South Africa.

Heizmann is a member of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association. The paper he coauthored on post-operative care for a great horned owl was awarded a second-place prize in husbandry. Kurt earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Augustana College, Rockford, Illinois.