What does a typical day look like for a Zoo Keeper? They start off their shift early – picking up poop, cleaning water bowls, spraying down exhibits, checking fences, gates and locks, and then they have to get meals ready and let the animals out onto exhibit! They also make time to spend one-on-one time with each animal to ensure the animal doesn’t need a visit from Dr. Colleen, the Zoo’s vet. These ever-important staff members are on their feet 95 percent of their days, only sitting down to eat lunch and check emails. Zoo Keepers are tough and dedicated, and that’s one of the many reasons we celebrate National Zoo Keeper Week. We also want you to celebrate with us by meeting some of our Keepers.
LEAD ZOO KEEPER, BIRDS + AUSTRALIA
Q1. Why did you choose to become a Zoo Keeper?
A1. I always wanted to work with animals when I was younger. After volunteering at veterinary clinics, wildlife rehabilitation facilities, and aquariums, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. I was hired at my first zoo soon after college and absolutely fell in love with Zoo Keeping, especially working with birds.
Q2. How long have you been a Zoo Keeper?
A2. I have worked in the animal field as a zookeeper and wildlife rehabilitator for 7 years total.
Q3. What is your favorite thing about being a Keeper?
A3. Being a Zoo Keeper means I can combine my passion for animals and love for public education. It is always great to interact with guests who are excited to learn new facts about the animals we care for.
Q4. Is there a particular animal at the Virginia Zoo you feel like you have a meaningful connection with?
A4. Eve, the cinereous vulture.
Q5. If you could be any animal in the world, what would you want to be and why?