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Wednesday, January 22

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Thursday, April 14

A lot of people ask me how I came to be a zookeeper. My story actually began right here at Zoo Atlanta! I had always loved animals, but when I was 8 years old, my class did an overnight program at Zoo Atlanta that changed the course of my life. We toured the Zoo and spent the night, and I fell in love with the tigers – one had seemed like he was staring right at me! Later in the program, I learned that tigers were (and are) going extinct, and my 8-year-old self determined that I was going to save them. Every project and paper in school became about tigers, and I received a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology and began applying for jobs and internships.

During my various internships, I did get to take care of big cats, including tigers, but was also introduced to the joys of working with other species, too – goats in particular. When a full-time position at Zoo Atlanta opened that including goats, I knew I had to apply. I’m glad I did! I’ve now been working in Outback Station at Zoo Atlanta for three years, and it has been a wonderful place to learn and grow as a keeper. Not only do we care for the goats, but my area is also responsible for sheep, pigs, kangaroos, bush dogs, tanuki and naked mole rats. I am so thankful to Zoo Atlanta for first inspiring me to be a zookeeper, and then, 15 years later, giving me the opportunity to officially be one!

Bonus news: We have new arrivals in Outback Station! Come stop by the petting zoo and barn to greet our new Kunekune pigs, Arya and Stark. They’re not in the petting zoo yet, but we’ll be sure to let you know when you can meet them!
Michelle Elliott
Keeper II, Mammals 

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl