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National Zoo Keeper Week

It Takes A Zoo: Zoo Keeping Takes Collaboration

Monday, July 20, 2020, written by Leanna Read, photographed by Mika Miller

This week is National Zoo Keeper Week, celebrated during the third week of July every year. Zoo keepers around the world help protect and preserve all kinds of wildlife and habitats by demonstrating respect for all creatures, sharing conservation messages, and working in Species Survival Plan (SSP) to strengthen populations of declining species. A keeper is an essential educator and wildlife ambassador. 

Some of our keepers tried new forms of enrichment for the animals while the halls were empty of guests. Laura Shipp brought her violin to play for the fishes since the vibrations of the music can be transmitted in the water, and provided a new experience for the animals.

Animal Ambassador Keepers created obstacle courses for hedgehogs, parrots, geckos, armadillos, and more. Our Animal Ambassadors usually spend their days visiting schools across Utah and meeting guests in the lobby, so the continual enrichment that our team provided (and continue to provide) is essential for their physical and mental health.

Keeper Lesley Scoville also captured a sweet video of our two Keel-billed toucans exhibiting courting behaviors. All of us at the Aquarium are so thrilled to have welcomed a baby toucan which hatched in June and is being closely monitored via webcam. The keepers expect the toucan chick to emerge from the nest sometime this August.

Lora starts Dusty, the parrot, on an obstacle course adventure.
Toucans give food as gifts in courting rituals.
Keepers sort produce for feeding animals.
Daily cleaning is done in every habitat.

Uno, our Gentoo penguin, got to go on a tour of the Aquarium and meet some new animals up close!

Additionally, keepers from each department of our husbandry team participated in a unique project called Scarlet’s Adventure, where we brought the Aquarium to our viewers at home with educational videos about some of our most popular animals. Our keepers are full of knowledge and are excited to share their love for wildlife with everyone.

Animal husbandry is an extensive field that includes training, feeding, cleaning, veterinary checks, and so much more. Some tasks begin before the sun is up, like cleaning habitats and preparing food. We are grateful to our dedicated staff members who keep our animals healthy and happy.

Thank you to all of our keepers, aquarists, and horticulturalists.

Happy Zoo Keeper Week 2020!

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