National Zoo Keeper Week

Starting the third Sunday of every July, AAZK chapters around the country celebrate and promote the work of their animal care professionals – the keepers.  This year NZKW will be highlighting the diversity of keepers and their contributions to global conservation efforts.

Happy National Zookeeper Week to all animal care professionals from the Greater Kansas City AAZK Chapter!

Why celebrate keepers?

National Zookeeper Week’s Mission:

To recognize and promote dedicated zoo and aquarium professionals year round, culminating in an annual celebration during the third week in July – National Zookeeper Week.

National Zookeeper Week Goals:

  • Promote the dedication and hard work of animal care professionals year round
  • Celebrate animal care professionals’ achievements during the third week in July
  • Share the accomplishments of AAZK chapters
  • Create awareness of AAZK chapters’ dedication to conservation and wildlife to the public
  • Communicate the necessity for zoos and aquariums by way of animal care professionalism, research, and fundraising efforts

What is National Zookeeper Week?

As the need to protect and preserve wildlife and their vanishing habitats continues to increase, the animal care professional’s role as educators and conservation ambassadors has become essential. Zoo and aquarium professionals care for hundreds of species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates.

Three hundred and sixty five days a year, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, in all weather (from hurricanes, to blizzards, to heat waves, and everything in between), keepers have to be ready for anything. They are involved in captive animals’ lives and welfare from birth to death and every moment in between, and often create life long bonds. A keeper’s day can include an array of tasks including cleaning, food preparation and feed out, medical treatment, training, enrichment, landscaping, exhibit design, animal introductions, public outreach and education, and much MUCH more.

Most animal care professionals have bachelor degrees or higher, many with advanced degrees, and continue to advance their education by attending workshops, conferences, and certificate programs annually. They are not just skilled laborers, but professionals who continue to expand their knowledge of an ever advancing field. Working with animals requires constant complex problem solving and progressive learning. Beyond their daily duties, keepers are involved in research projects, field work, and conservation organizations. And yet – most do not earn more than minimum wage, and some even work second jobs.

But, in the end, being a zookeeper, aquarist, aviculturist – whatever you call it, they’re all animal care professionals, and it is more than just a job. It’s a career, it’s a passion, it’s a calling.

THAT’S why we recognize zookeepers year round, and THAT’S why we have a week dedicated to promoting their skills, dedication, and enthusiasm for wildlife to world. Join AAZK every third week in July, to celebrate National Zookeeper Week!

Info from National AAZK website