The Heart of a Zoo Keeper

I have the distinct pleasure of providing research and news in science pertaining to the zoo world. Through science, we learn about our natural world and what we can do to help. As Editor of the Science section, it is my hope to bring you trends in research, news of grants and enclosure expansions, projects, information on breeding programs, rescue and rehabilitation advances, vet care, animal health and more.

Today, I wanted to spend some time talking about animal keepers and anyone working with animals at zoos and aquariums. These people have what I call a ‘keeper’s heart’. It takes a special type of person to do what keepers do. They deal with all sorts of challenges; they clean up after animals, ensure the highest quality of care, and educate people about the animals and how to protect wild populations. These people are animal superheroes.

Keepers have a heart for the animals that they take care of. To some extent, it is like taking care of a family member. If you have a pet (or in some cases many pets) you know what I am talking about. Pets are part of the family and each one has its own personality and ability to form bonds and relationships. Keepers bond with the animals that they work with. Accidents do happen, but they are just that – accidents. Most cases are the result of various factors and have nothing to do with the bond between the keeper and the animal that they are working with.

Some of our best friends are animal keepers and animal trainers. They have a passion to protect animal species and never miss an opportunity to educate someone on how they can help reduce the treat to the animals that they love. Being a keeper is not a job. It is a way of life. Keepers actively seek to change the world and educate others to do the same. Now only if we cared about the environment and animals like they do. Imagine how the world would change. Imagine what we could do if we can get out of our own heads and see that we can make a difference. Imagine what impact would we have if we actually put words or thought s of conservation into action. What can we learn from an animal keeper?

I encourage all of you to not pass up the opportunity to educate someone, make a difference, or start a revolution in the way we think about the environment. We need game changers to create positive change in the world. It is bigger than us. You can make a difference and help raise up the next generation to do the same. Choose to be different, choose to be a game changer, choose to create positive change.

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