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While the animals are certainly front and center on any visit to the zoo, this event is all about showing appreciation for those who take care of them – the zoo keepers! National Zoo Keeper Week brings to the fore those humans who are usually in the background making sure the zoo animals in their care are happy and healthy. 

History of National Zoo Keeper Week

After successful lobbying and other efforts by the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK), the United States Congress officially recognized National Zoo Keeper Week starting in 2007. As a non-profit organization made up of both professional zoo keepers and also others who are interested in and dedicated to the upkeep and care of animals and conservation, the AAZK sponsors this event annually. 

Some of the purposes behind National Zoo Keeper Week include promoting the animal keeping profession while fostering opportunities to educate the public on wildlife care and protection, particularly in vanishing habitats. According to the AAZK, zoo keepers are considered to be not only carers and protectors of the animals themselves, but they also take on a role as wildlife conservation ambassadors.

How to Celebrate National Zoo Keeper Week

Go wild and get celebrating National Zoo Keeper Week with some of these interesting ideas:

Learn Fun Facts About Zoo Keepers 

One excellent way to get involved with National Zoo Keeper Week is to become more educated about and familiar with who these interesting folks are and what they do. Consider learning some bits of trivia and information that can be shared with friends or coworkers in person or with a whole host of followers online. Get started with some of these facts about zookeepers:

  • Zoo keepers have a vast number of responsibilities, from cleaning and feeding the animals to checking them for health and safety issues, from providing education to patrons to spotlighting conservation efforts

  • Most zoo keeper jobs require them to have a degree related to animals, whether it is a veterinary degree, zoology, animal management, or some other related life sciences specialty

  • Zoo keepers work on holidays, just like doctors, nurses and other caregivers for humans are needed 24/7 every day of the year

  • Zoo keepers have a great deal of experience studying the habitats, breeding habits, social activities, feeding patterns and many other lifestyle factors of the species they work with

Visit the Zoo

Of course, one of the highest honors that can be paid during National Zoo Keepers Week would be to head over to the local zoo and catch them in the act of taking care of the animals! In fact, many zoos have special times where animals are fed and the patrons are allowed to interact with the zookeepers, which means this might be a perfect opportunity to show them some appreciation and thank them for their dedication to what they do!

Recognize Zoo Keepers

Staff, managers, board members and others with a vested interest in zoos, whether large or small, can observe National Zoo Keepers Week with a wide range of activities aimed at celebrating and appreciating their zoo keepers. Consider offering thanks and praise in staff meetings or hosting appreciation events for the staff. Or give them a big shout out on social media to show how much these zoo keepers are needed and appreciated!

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