Can you learn the language of an animal that does not speak, spot an illness that an individual is hiding, get an orangutan to take his vitamin, or rake an exhibit when it is 105 degrees or pouring rain? The Sacramento Zoo’s zookeepers can and do. During National Zookeeper Appreciation week (July 16-22), the Sacramento Zoo would like to recognize the hard work, care, and responsibility zookeepers take on within this valuable profession. Amidst their passion for protecting animals and preserving wildlife, the responsibility our zookeepers take on is more than the day-to-day duties involving our zoo animals. It is important to highlight what it takes to be a zookeeper and the great contributions they are making to wildlife awareness, educational programs, scientific research, and the future care of our wonderful Sacramento Zoo animals.
At the Sacramento Zoo, our zookeepers share their expertise on animal maintenance, health conditions and care with visitors and are truly able to provide valuable information due to their educational background and experience. Zookeepers often obtain college degrees in zoology, biology, life science, animal science, wildlife management, or other fields related to animal management and get their foot in the door through volunteer work before landing a job in this profession. Their educational background and experience both play a valuable role in future research and continuous support in learning and providing better care for all animals in the zoo and their natural habitat. Zookeepers are not only involved in the daily care of the animals, but also work closely with veterinarians, take part in daily training and enrichment programs, network with zoos around the world, monitor dietary requirements for all the animals, all in order to continue making a difference in the lives of the animals they take care of.
Zookeepers truly form a wonderful relationship with every single animal here at the Sacramento Zoo which is not only incredibly rewarding but helps them better able to teach them new behaviors to help take care of them better. Through positive training, we are able to have extraordinary events happen at the Sacramento Zoo such as Joey the Chimpanzee’s successful ultrasound examination, thanks to the regular positive training provided by our primate keepers.
Zookeepers continue to take on various roles as caretakers, educators, and researchers and on behalf of the Sacramento Zoo and our animals, we are thankful for their endless contributions and dedication in preserving wildlife and making a great impact through their work and love for animals.
The next time you are at the zoo be sure to thank a zookeeper!