The job of the zookeeper is much more than feeding and cleaning up after animals. Today’s keepers engage the animals in their own care, using training and enrichment to give animals the opportunity to act like their wild selves. Keepers must keep close watch over the animals in their care in order to detect any signs of illness, which animals instinctually hide to avoid predation. Keepers also contribute to the overall body of knowledge about animals by participating in behavioral research, and many are active in international conservation efforts.
If you think a career as a zookeeper may be right for you, take a look at our zoo careers webpage and our keeper FAQ to learn more about the day-to-day realities of the job and what it takes to advance in this career path.
If you’re at the zoo this week, be sure to say hi to the keepers and wish them a happy National Zoo Keeper Week! There are scheduled keeper talks throughout the day every day. And don’t be afraid to ask questions when you see a keeper out and about around the zoo—that’s often the best way to hear insider stories about the animals or to get great tips on how and when to best view them.