National Zookeeper Week is July 21-27, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2013
Saint Louis Zoo 314/781-0900
Susan Gallagher, 314/646-4633
Christy Childs, 314/646-4639
Joanna Bender, 314/646-4703
NATIONAL ZOOKEEPER WEEK CELEBRATED AT SAINT LOUIS ZOO JULY 21-27
Enrichment Activities and Keeper Chats Planned
(Photo op Thursday, July 25, 9:30 a.m. to noon: Media are invited to get photos/video of enrichment activities listed below. Please call the PR staff in advance to arrange assistance to the animal areas. Zoo staff—including zookeepers—will be available for interviews.)
The Saint Louis Zoo will celebrate the profession of zookeeping during National Zookeeper Week, July 21-27, 2013.
"The Zoo is happy to honor this amazing group of animal specialists," says Dr. Jeffrey P. Bonner, Dana Brown President and CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo. "Our zookeepers devote their lives to taking care of very special animals on a daily basis, to conserving species for the future and to educating the public about the need to preserve animals and their habitats."
On Thursday, July 25, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, zookeepers will offer enrichment activities and chat with visitors about their careers in animal care.
Here's the animal enrichment schedule:
• 9:30 a.m. – Giant tortoise enrichment and keeper chat outside of the Herpetarium
• 10 a.m. – Gorilla enrichment and keeper chat at the outdoor gorilla habitat at Jungle of the Apes
• 10:30 a.m. – River otter enrichment and keeper chat at Children's Zoo
• 11 a.m. – Hyena enrichment and keeper chat at River's Edge
• 11:30 a.m. – Humboldt penguin enrichment and keeper chat at Penguin & Puffin Coast
• Noon – Lemur enrichment and keeper chat at Primate House
Keeper chats are also offered every day at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays at 5 p.m. at various locations throughout the Zoo.
Zookeepers have a very interesting history that began in the earliest times of human history. The Saint Louis Zoo has 78 full-time and 28 part-time and seasonal zookeepers; 68 percent of them are female. Most of the Zoo's keepers hold bachelor's degrees; degrees in biology, zoology or a related field are preferred. The Zoo's staff includes keepers with master's degrees and PhDs.
The Zoo's well-trained keepers range in age from 24 to 64, and their duties revolve around providing the best possible care for the animals in their care. This includes, but is not limited to: providing species-appropriate diets for all animals and the daily care of animals, cleaning exhibits, monitoring animal health and reporting any problems, conducting scientific research, educating the public, keeping records, using positive reinforcement to train animals and providing enrichment to the animals in their care—to name just a few.
The St. Louis Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) will present a photo display in The Living World showcasing all aspects of zookeeping. The current St. Louis chapter was established in 2003 and includes zookeepers, Zoo staff and volunteers dedicated to professional animal care and conservation.
Created by AAZK, Inc., National Zookeeper Week is celebrated each year in July. During the week, zoos nationwide honor animal care professionals and the work they do in animal care, conservation and education. There are approximately 6,000 animal care professionals in the United States.
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About Saint Louis Zoo
The Saint Louis Zoo is widely recognized for its innovative approaches to animal management, wildlife conservation, research and education. The Zoo attracts 3,000,000 visitors each year.