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From Outback to Carnivores

Hello! It’s Carnivore Keeper Adrianna here for today’s Keeper Stories! If you know a little bit about me, you know I have been here for a little over five years, and that before I was a Carnivore Keeper, I was a member of the care team in Outback Station! Over there, I looked after the petting zoo herd, Kunekune pigs, alpacas, kangaroos, and bush dogs (the latter two species we no longer have at Zoo Atlanta). Then you fast forward to today and I take care of the Zoo’s sun bears, clouded leopard, tigers, fossa, lions and many others! What a change, right? Going from mostly herbivores to mostly carnivores. Not only did I have to become knowledgeable about the animals I now take care of, but I also had to learn how to care for them and remain safe doing so.

When I tell my friends or people I just met that I care for carnivores, most of the time they are amazed, and the other times they get a concerned look on their face and say I must be out of my mind! They say that if they did that, they would be scared. I tell them that that is a reasonable reaction because yes, the animals I work with are dangerous animals, and that is exactly why we have very strict safety measures and rules for working with these animals. For example, we never go into the same space as a dangerous carnivore. Outside of veterinary procedures, there will always be a barrier between a care team member and a lion, tiger or bear. We also have a double lock policy (having two people pull on a lock) to ensure that the locks on the doors that have a carnivore behind them are secured and all is safe. Other safety measures we have include but are not limited to having safety equipment ready, being trained for emergency situations, and having many regular practice exercises for any situation that could happen. Having all these precautions ensures a safe working environment not only for my team and me, but it also ensures the safety of the animals I love taking care of!

Adrianna R.
Keeper III, Mammals

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