National Zoo Keeper Week
At Zoo Atlanta, the role of zookeeper is considered by many to be a dream job. It’s also a daily illustration of professionalism, commitment and devotion to more than 1,000 animals representing species from around the world.
National Zookeepers Week is celebrated in July. Highlighting the work and achievements of zoo and aquarium professionals nationwide, the week is observed annually by the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK), a nonprofit organization with chapters throughout the U.S. Many of the Zoo’s animal care professionals are members of the Georgia Chapter of AAZK.
More than 45 of Zoo Atlanta’s full-time employees are animal care staff working in four primary departments. The Zoo’s keepers bring a collective 300 years of experience to the care and training of more than 200 individual species. The organization’s longest-running zookeeper, Bernie Gregory, Lead Keeper of Primates, has worked at Zoo Atlanta since 1979.
Zoological animal care is a highly competitive profession requiring advanced education, specialized training and hands-on experience. In 2007, the Atlanta City Council issued a proclamation recognizing the keepers at Zoo Atlanta, and the organization continues to build a growing reputation as a source of talent for the national zoological community.
Today, Zoo Atlanta staff members are responsible for more than 45 percent of worldwide publications on gorilla behavior; have published internationally recognized behavioral research on giant pandas and other species; and have ranked among the nation’s first zoological professionals to study and respond to the problem of global amphibian decline and other conservation issues.