Tuesday, August 16
Everyone always asks me what I had to do to become a hoofstock keeper at Zoo Atlanta. The answer is a lot! Many people don’t realize what all it takes to become a keeper at an AZA facility, and the literally thousands of hours of free labor I have spent working as an intern and volunteer. I acquired my Bachelor’s degree in biology at Kennesaw State University and started interning in the Elephant Department here during my senior year of college back in 2014. I instantly fell in love with zookeeping and knew that this was the profession I wanted to pursue. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but I didn’t give up. I extended my internship and continued to learn in elephants and got to know more and more of the hardworking staff at the Zoo in the different departments. I then moved over to the hoofstock area, where I did yet another internship and learned about all of the amazing animals there. It was only after two years of volunteering my time and learning and growing as a keeper did I finally get my shot and became a Seasonal Hoofstock Keeper this summer. The satisfaction of knowing I am so close to making my dreams come true of becoming a full-time keeper at Zoo Atlanta makes me motivated to work that much harder. The work I get to do in hoofstock and the relationships I have created with the animals that I work with make all of the hours of hard work worth it. My journey as a keeper has only just begun, and it has certainly not been easy, but every minute has definitely been worth it! I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me in the world of zookeeping.
Seasonal Keeper, Mammals