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What does one day look like as a zookeeper?

I'm in 8th grade I have a class called career and technology. My teacher is having us ask questions about the careers we would like to do when we get older. #tech #career #career-development #zookeepers #anyzookeepers

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Kerry’s Answer

Hi Sydnee,

I had the chance early in my career to work at a zoo and have now spent the past 15 working at an aquarium. While working with live animals doesn't always make things predictable, there is a general flow to our day. We have 12 staff members divided into three shifts, currently for marine mammals I work with, our day looks like this:

6:30 First trainers arrive. Do head count of the animals. Begin diet prep for the day (1.5hrs).
7:30 Second shift arrives and begins daily cleaning tasks.
8:30 First training session, focusing on husbandry (medical behaviors that help us take care of them)
9:00 Third shift arrives. Daily staff meeting to update on animals, plan for the day, organizational updates.
10:00 Second training session. Building has opened to guests at this time, so they are welcome to watch us interact with the animals.
11:15 Third training session.
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Fourth training session
2-3 Begin daily PM cleaning tasks, work on area projects, recordkeeping, scuba diving to clean pools.
3:00 Fifth training session. Guests who purchased a behind-the-scenes tour are brought to watch while a trainer describes what is happening in the session.
4:30 Last session of the day.
5-6 Complete PM cleaning tasks, enter in daily records, prepare vitamins for the next day.
6-9 On Fridays we are open late to visitors, so we have one staff member stay to monitor the area/animals.

Each trainer is also assigned an area to oversee to help make our department run smoothly. These include: scuba diving, diet ordering, internships, volunteers, enrichment, research, safety compliance, and protocol updating. They work on these individuals projects interspersed throughout the day.

As we get close to the holidays, it's also worth noting that the schedule above takes place 365 days a year. Weekends, holidays, snowstorms, hurricanes, etc. Even though we may not be open to the public, the animals still need care. You make sacrifices to work in this field, but being able to connect with an animal on a personal level is so special and completely worth it.

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Claire’s Answer

Hi Syndee! I am not a zookeeper, but I would brainstorm how you think a career as a zookeeper intersects with technology. How might a zoo-keeping career look today versus in the the past? How does technology change that, and how might it make a zookeeper's job easier?

You could start by researching a list of a zookeepers main tasks/priorities. Then think about how modern technology helps the zookeeper do their job. Do video cameras help them keep tabs on the animals? How is the zookeeper notified if something needs their attention? How does the zookeeper manage his employees taking care of the animals? What does the zookeeper do to manage the safety of their employees and customers? How does the zookeeper make sure that everyone at the zoo is enjoying their time?

As I mentioned, I have no expertise with zoo-keeping, but I hope this helps you think about how to approach your assignment!

Claire recommends the following next steps:

Research zookeeper daily tasks
Summarize day of a zookeeper
Talk about how day of a zookeeper relies on technology (so that your teacher see you connecting to the theme of your class).