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Getting the swing of things

Hello! I am one of the new Mammal Swing Keepers here at Zoo Atlanta. I have had a lot of people ask me what a Swing Keeper is. It means that I will be trained in multiple sections within the Mammal Department: Hoofstock, Carnivores, Elephants and Outback Station. I started in May and just finished training in in my first section: Hoofstock! It took no time to fall in love with the giraffes, zebras, yellow-backed duikers, ostriches and muntjac.

I often get asked how I ended up in the zoo field. I got my first glimpse into the zoo world when I was in college with an internship at the Virginia Zoo and loved learning about the program animals I worked with and cared for. Since then, working in a zoo had always been in the back of my mind but wasn’t something I knew a lot about. Last summer when I accepted an internship in Outback Station, I was able to learn a lot more about what exactly a zookeeper does. Later, I was hired as a seasonal zookeeper in that same department. After the seasonal finished I accepted an internship at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., at their Small Mammal House, where I worked with tamanduas, golden lion tamarins, sloths, fennec foxes and dwarf mongoose, just to name a few. In addition to graduating with a degree in biology, these experiences and learning opportunities allowed me to come back to Zoo Atlanta as a full-time employee. If you ever have any questions about becoming a zookeeper, feel free to ask any of us next time you’re at the Zoo!
Sarah Snider
Swing Keeper, Mammals

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl