A DAY IN A LIFE OF: a zookeeper

My day as a zookeeper is a little different than some! I work as a presenter and animal trainer so not only do I care for a range of different animals, but my department also presents pretty much every show at our wildlife sanctuary!

We start at 7:30 am and usually have our morning meeting with our Alpine Dingo, Marrok! This is to catch up on things that have happened over the last couple of days and if we have anything different or special happening on the day.

After this we start our Animal husbandry, firstly weighing our birds including birds of prey like eagles, owls, and kites alongside our parrots.

Then we clean all their enclosures, scrubbing their ponds and racking, and then we do food prep. Then we collect the reptiles for our show.

Once those tasks have been completed we have a short smoko break and then start prepping for our morning shows.

At 10:45 we have our “Big fang theory” show. We showcase a handful of pythons, lizards and venomous snakes as well as how to perform first aid for snake bites.

After the show, we return the reptiles back to their enclosures and rush back to prep for the “Wild skies” free-flight bird show at 11:45 am.

During this show we have multiple roles; main presenters, who are out on stage working birds and speaking; keepers behind the scenes releasing and containing the animals in the show, and a keeper in what we call “the hut” which is a ranger type hut on stage. This person controls when birds get released and communicate with all staff about what’s happening on stage.

Once the show is completed we will have a photo session with one of the animals from the show, usually an eagle or an owl.

After the show, we have some time for training sessions with any animals that may be learning new routines for the show.

Then we break for lunch!

Afterward, we do some more husbandry. Usually cleaning the water, birds enclosure, possum enclosure and giving them browse (fresh leaf branches) and any other enclosures that didn’t get done in the morning.

This is also the time in which we work on personal projects and have some more training sessions or take our Dingo for a walk.

Then at 2:15 pm, we have our second and final free flight bird show accompanied by yet another photo session.

Once the show ends we pack down, finish feeding all the animals, and write records for the day.

All our parrots get shuffled around in enclosures and go into what we call “the party room” which is a large enclosure at the end of our parrot hall that the birds choose to go into. It’s great for socializing and is generally packed with enrichment for them!

Once everything is packed down and closed. One of us heads over to our wild lorikeets’ arena for the 4 pm Lorikeet feed & talk. Sometimes in the year, the feed is INSANE and we get 100s of birds arriving for a free meal! The feed has been happening every day for over 70 years and is actually the foundation of the sanctuary and how it all started! We then pack up and finish at 5 pm usually very exhausted from a big day!!

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