It takes a village to run a Zoo, but it surely takes very particular people to take care of the animals. All this week we’re celebrating and displaying our appreciation for the zookeepers that work onerous behind the scenes caring for over 2500 animals. Within the spirit of Nationwide Zookeeper Week, our keepers share their ardour and love behind caring for the animals right here at Nashville Zoo.
Why did you select to develop into a zookeeper?
“We work onerous to counterpoint the lives of the animals in our care by coaching, enjoyable enrichment, and interesting with our zoo friends. However we even have the distinctive alternative to assist these species wild counterparts by conservation right here on the zoo. We get to study from the animals we’re privileged sufficient to work with on daily basis, which is why so many people do that job.”
Morgan Fontenot, Hoofstock Keeper
“I at all times cherished animals, and I began volunteering at my native zoo rising up once I was 13–I cherished attending to share info with friends. That keenness led me to zookeeping–I get to assist facilitate connections between folks and wildlife, which is absolutely rewarding.”
Jake Belair, Ambassador Animal Lead Keeper
What’s your favourite a part of your job?
“My favourite a part of the job is the connections I’ve made with the animals. Additionally making connections with teammates and being in a profession the place all of us have such a ardour for a similar factor brings everybody shut. I’ve made lifelong pals from this profession.”
Danielle Bertold, Carnivore Keeper
“My favourite a part of my job is doing coaching classes with the animals. It’s simply such a tremendous feeling each time a coaching session goes effectively, or an animal lastly picks up a conduct that you’ve got been working with them on for months.“
Hayley Baas, Hoofstock Keeper
“Educating! I like once I’m speaking to folks both on the trail or throughout a present and I see the acceptance of among the lesser cherished creatures taking place to friends.”
Kelsey Spies, Ambassador Animal Keeper
What do folks not learn about zoo conserving? What’s the greatest false impression?
“It is extra than simply cleansing poop. All of us have faculty levels and should be effectively educated about these animals to supply correct care. We’re a part of a much bigger image as effectively. All of us have the conservation of those animals in our minds and try to do one thing tangible to assist. Whether or not it is fieldwork, breeding and launch, elevating funds, or schooling, it’s all a part of our job.”
Stephanie White, Ambassador Animal Space Supervisor
“Being a zookeeper just isn’t about controlling all the things within the animals’ lives. We give them the selection to partake in all points of their lives. Our goal is to construct belief and encourage participation.”
Whitney Roman, Primate Keeper
“That is extra of a life-style than a job. Nobody ever made it wealthy being a zookeeper. We work on holidays, like Christmas, away from household. We work when it’s scorching, chilly and in excessive climate. When the roads are iced up the animals nonetheless should be taken care of. As troublesome as our days may be with wholesome animals or sick animals, child animals or getting older animals, we love our job!”
Sean Ployd, Avian Keeper
Is there a selected animal you’re feeling like you will have a significant reference to?
“I am the first keeper for the Macaws, so attending to work with them for over a yr and watching them develop and study with me has been so rewarding!”
Meaghan Fowler, Avian Keeper
“I like working with our Galapagos tortoises as a result of they’re so fast to select up on issues. You’re employed with them just a few instances and so they appear to recollect it. I like with the ability to use them as an envoy for the Zoo to get friends enthusiastic about being there.”
Katie Gregory, Herpetology Keeper
“Shiny Eyes and Curly, the primary two lorikeets I bonded with. They had been the primary birds that ever missed me once I was gone.”
Ashley Gwaltney, Lorikeet Space Supervisor
What would you like friends to remove from their go to?
“I would like friends to study one thing from their go to. It might be as small as a primary animal truth or as advanced as growing a greater understanding of the position a selected animal performs in an ecosystem. So long as friends can go away right here studying one thing new.”
James Flaherty, Herpetology Keeper
“These animals are given one of the best care we are able to probably give them. My total job is to verify the animals are joyful and wholesome. I spend all day, no matter solar, rain, sleet, or snow, caring for them.”
Sloane Campbell, Carnivore Keeper
“I would like friends to really feel empathy and a private connection to the world round them. Every little thing has a goal and needs to be valued for extra than simply leisure functions. Animals are cute and enjoyable to look at, nonetheless, they’re a lot extra. When on the zoo ensure to take the time to find out about them by studying the indicators, attending keeper talks, and asking questions!”
Whitney Roman, Primate Keeper
Why do you assume being a zookeeper is necessary?
“These animals are counting on us for all the things of their lives, with out that, there can be many species extinct with no illustration. By educating and inspiring friends in regards to the pure historical past, ongoing environmental points, and different methods to assist these animals, we may also help save species from extinction.”
Holly Carneal, Herpetology Keeper
“We now have the power to attach individuals who would by no means usually get to satisfy or work together with animals in the pure world. The one technique to care in regards to the planet is to know it, and thru our jobs we make these connections to folks on daily basis.”
Megan Fox, Avian Keeper
“It’s necessary to be a zookeeper, as a result of our care of animals permits folks to see animals that they’d in any other case not know existed. Zoos and aquariums enable folks to see and fall in love with animals each native and unique.”
Lana Bogoslavsky, Aquatics Technician
Who do you thank for uplifting you to develop into a zookeeper?
“My inspiration for turning into a zookeeper began once I was very younger watching Steve Irwin on TV. His enthusiasm and fervour for wildlife actually impacted me and made me wish to work with animals sometime. I really feel very fortunate to have the ability to reside my lifelong dream and share my ardour with different folks.”
Olivia LaGrand, Avian Keeper
“Whereas it might be a bit cliche, my position mannequin rising up was Steve Irwin. Watching his present once I was youthful impressed me to care about conservation. His ardour and self-sacrifice to hold the usual for wildlife conservation modified the best way I appeared on the world.”
Josh Wiseman, Outreach Specialist
“I thank my dad and mom for elevating me to be affected person and loving in direction of all animals. I’ve at all times needed to be a keeper since I used to be younger. I grew up watching animal planet with my household. I did a challenge in fifth grade that I needed to be a Large panda caretaker! I’ve a lot love for all animals. Seeing an animal be excited to see me melts my coronary heart. Being so near animals you like on daily basis is a dream.”
Tatum Basham, Primate Keeper
Why are you proud to be a zookeeper?
“I’m proud to be a zookeeper as a result of not many individuals get to put on this title. It is a profession that you must put your coronary heart into and know there are going to be instances when your coronary heart will get harm. It is a robust job however while you love what you do is it actually a job?”
MJ Foletta, Carnivore Keeper
“The conservation work that the zoo does is totally unimaginable. Being part of the coral conservation effort and dealing with the Nashville Crayfish will at all times be a spotlight in my profession.”
Chad Cogbrun, Aquatics Technician