Happy Zookeeper Appreciation Week! Meet Katie, she is a keeper in the Maryland Wilderness and Panamanian Golden Frog exhibits. Read her keeper spotlight below to learn how she became a keeper and what she loves about her job.
What kind of animals do you work with or what area?
I work in the Maryland Wilderness/Panamanian Golden Frog Area. I take care of river otters, a red fox, hellbenders, snakes, turtles, bats and lots and lots of Panamanian golden frogs!
How long have you been working at the zoo?
What steps did you take in order to become an animal keeper?
I majored in psychology and minored in biology in college. I also worked at an SPCA and had 4 internships at different zoos and aquariums.
What is something you do everyday for the animal that would surprise us?
Since we cannot go into the exhibit with the otters, we have a training program so they voluntarily take injections for vaccines. I am the otter primary trainer and so I help maintain this training program so we can give them the best medical care we can.
What do you want the public to know about zookeeping?
It is a lot of hard work, but the animals make it totally worth it.
Why did you want to become a keeper?
I have always loved animals, and the thought of spending all day taking care of them was very appealing – and still is!
What hobbies/interests do you have outside of your zoo life?
I am in a Bible study, I am playing on a rec softball team right now, I like to play trivia games and other board games, I like to travel, and I am a huge Orioles and Ravens fan.
What is your favorite part of a typical day at the zoo?
My favorite part of my day is when I spend time putting together enrichment for the otters and then get to watch them figure it out and find the treats.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
It is challenging to work in all types of weather — no matter if it is 100 degrees or a blizzard, we have to take care of the animals.
Where would you travel to see animals, or what places have you traveled to?
I took a three week Marine Biology course in the Bahamas in college. We saw some amazing marine life while snorkeling. I would like to go to Australia one day and see the animals there.
What do you think is the most important reason to support the zoo?
We love what we do and take our jobs very seriously. We love giving the animals the best we possibly can. As a non-profit, we need support to continue to do that.