I miss this place so damn much. I better get back some day.
I got to feed and pet our sloths today at work. And then I played them and some of our primates a little ukulele for sound enrichment. Best afternoon ever!
Work this morning/afternoon was fantastic for two reasons. One, because our school cancelled last minute and we just sat around for a few hours talking about camp stuff, getting paid for it. Two, because I finally got trained on the handsome bird above. That would be Ndizi, our African Yellow-Billed Hornbill who has become an amazing bird after what he started out as - a horrible, aggressive bird that our keepers trained and shaped into an education bird after some great length of time. From a bird who used to ram his enclosure’s mesh whenever anyone got near, to finally hold him was surreal. Just one more show of the remarkable nature of positive reinforcement. And he’s such a stunning animal, I’ll be so happy to finally show him off and share him with our guests, because there is nothing like a close-up encounter to truly spark interest in animals that are otherwise overlooked. Nothing at all.
Yeah, I really do love my job.
Hi there, I guess it depends on what you want to get into in the zoological field. My original goal was to get into marine mammal training, so I have a degree (B.S.) in Psychology. However, if you want zookeeping as your end goal, you likely want a biology or a zoology track. Other options are zoological training schools like those at Santa Fe in Florida (more general zoo keeping oriented) or Moorpark in California (more exotic animal training oriented), but the schools have long wait lists and whatnot, so they’re something you’d want to shoot for sooner than later. Experience is definitely important. I have three positions at my zoo, but none are zookeeping. But I got my first simply through volunteer work at my zoo and have added on positions through there; my most recent is as a nutrition assistant and a foot in to the animal department. Interning is also a great way to get experience. Many of our keepers have come from our internship program. Also expect to work hard, keeping isn’t for the weak and certainly isn’t about playing with animals all day! Hope that helps!
(Sidenote: Edited for stupid autocorrects and for a little clarification!)