In recognition of the dedication of zoo keepers and aquarists, the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) (www.aazk.org) and zoos and aquariums across the nation celebrate National Zoo Keeper Week July 18-24.
The Peoria Zoo will celebrate with daily keeper relay races to be held after the 3:00 Animal Show. Children 5-12 years of age can sign up from 2:45-3:00 each day for a chance to participate in that day’s race. Four names will be drawn and the race will have 2 teams consisting of 2 children & 1 zoo keeper. The teams will compete head-to-head to complete assigned “keeper duties.”
The public can also meet the keepers at the regularly scheduled keeper chats held each day:
12:00 rhinos Rondavel (Africa!)
12:30 lions Lion viewing window (Africa!)
1:00 alligator Conservation Center
2:00 meerkats Meerkat exhibit (Tropics Building)
2:30 Primate Feeding Primate exhibits (Tropics Building)
The zoo keepers at the Peoria have over 95 years of combined experience! To care for the collection at the Peoria Zoo, 6-7 keepers are scheduled to work every day of the week and they work in all weather conditions. Zoo Director, Yvonne Strode, said, “Having been a zoo keeper for many years, I know the great rewards that come from working with the animals but I also know the sacrifices made, the hard work needed and the heart break of saying goodbye to an animal that has become a part of your life.”
“The American Association of Zookeepers is excited to announce National Zoo Keeper Week,” said Shane Good, President of the American Association of Zoo Keepers, inc. “This national celebration is in recognition of Zoo keepers, aquarists, and the animal care professionals in our nation’s zoological parks and aquariums. Zookeepers serve as animal care experts, frontline educators, and conservationists. We are proud to have zookeepers recognized for the important work they do on behalf of wildlife and conservation.”
Created by AAZK, Inc, National Zoo Keeper Week is celebrated each year beginning on the third Sunday 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.
The American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) is a non-profit volunteer organization made up of professional zookeepers and other interested persons dedicated to professional animal care and conservation. The mission of AAZK is to advance excellence in the zoo keeping profession, foster effective communication beneficial to animal care, support deserving conservation projects, and promote the preservation of our natural resources and animal life. For more information, visit www.aazk.org.