National Zookeeper Week
Every Day at 9:30 AM from July 21st, 2013 until July 27th, 2013
At Zoo Atlanta, the role of zookeeper isn’t the stuff of fiction; it is a daily illustration of professionalism, commitment and devotion to more than 1,500 animals representing species from around the world.
National Zookeepers Week is celebrated July 21-27. Highlighting the work and achievements of zoo and aquarium professionals nationwide, the week is observed annually by the American Association of Zoo Keepers, a nonprofit organization with chapters throughout the U.S.
Roughly one third of full-time employees at Zoo Atlanta are animal care staff working in four primary departments. The Zoo’s keepers bring a collective 300 years of experience to the care and training of more than 200 individual species. The organization’s longest-running zookeeper, Bernie Gregory, Lead Keeper of Primates, has worked at Zoo Atlanta since 1979.
Once considered unskilled labor that rarely demanded more than cleaning or feeding, zoological animal care is now a highly competitive profession requiring education, specialized training and hands-on experience. In 2007, the Atlanta City Council issued a proclamation recognizing the keepers at Zoo Atlanta, and the organization continues to build a growing reputation as a source of talent for the national zoological community.
Today, Zoo Atlanta staff members are responsible for more than 45 percent of worldwide publications on gorilla behavior; have published internationally recognized behavioral research on giant pandas; and have ranked among the nation’s first zoological professionals to study and respond to the problem of global amphibian decline.