IAMA Zookeeper with an hour (probably) to kill before our new giraffes get here AMA [end of the season update]
I figured I would do an update about my experience working for Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. I started there roughly 8 months ago and my season just ended yesterday. Even more awesome was the fact that I had accumulated to much PTO so my last day physically working was sunday. Which explains this proof picture.
Anyways, I worked mainly with the giraffes and a little bit with the elephants. I've also worked at two other animal parks giving me around six years of experience in the business. If you have any questions about the animals at the zoo,their care or the zoo itself feel free to ask me anything
EDIT: Alright I'm going mobile so I may miss some questions but I promise to keep answering anything you throw at me
EDIT 2: Alright I'm back! Sorry about the absence, I was a bit distracted at dinner and then girls invited me to a haunted house. Anyways, I'll try answer all the questions I got while away.
EDIT 3:I'm sorry but I have to turn in for the night, I'll keep answering questions if people keep asking them though.
EDIT 4: I didn't expect this AMA to get this big, but I see a lot of repeat questions that I can just answer here.
1.How do I get a job at the zoo?
- Typically most zoos want a 4 year Biology related degree or at the very least a High school diploma. More important is Animal experience, some zoos will even want specialized experience just with one species. Animal experience requirements are on average around 2 years sometimes paid.
2.How do you feel caging the animals up? Are the animals sad? (animal rights questions)
I wouldn't be working in this industry if I felt that the animals were sad or being mistreated. Yes in the past animal work was done by "cowboys" who just got in there and dominated the animals into doing what they want. Times have changed we no longer use cattle prods and whips to make animals move or do what we want. Instead we use Operant Conditioning to get them to do what we want.
Most animals you see in the zoo nowadays have been captive bred for generations and have never known the wild. We still release some animals, in fact Cincinnati and Columbus are the only 2 zoos outside of florida allowed to house and rehab manatees. Cincinnati is also working on saving sumatran rhinos, there are only ~100 left. We also donate money every year to different organizations trying to save wild populations.