Celebrating the Wonders of our Natural World...

sign up for
email updates

  • AAZA-logo

Tagged: Julie Katt


Unlike grocery stores, doctor’s offices, gas stations, restaurants and many other types of businesses out there, there are only so many zoos and aquariums in the country. Those institutions who go through the rigorous process of becoming AZA (American Zoo and Aquarium Association) accredited are even less. I would almost liken working at these zoos to working for a professional sports club. Jobs are specialized, whether you are like what the team doctor is to the zoo veterinarian, or the coaching staff is to zoo management personnel. I would love to liken the professional athletes to zookeepers, but in truth we are more like the personal trainers and specialized individual coaches of the zoo world. The closest thing to pro athletes we have are the exotic animals we care for. 


Colobus Monkey training

Training animals is probably one of the best parts of a zookeepers’ day. You get to interact with your animals, and it’s for an important purpose. When I say “training” – it does not mean we’re teaching the animals to do tricks. Every behavior we ask our animals to do is for a specific reason. For the most part, it is to help us examine our animals up close without having to anesthetize them for a physical exam.