Carolina is a Keeper 2, so rather than working in one specific area of the Zoo she moves around day by day. See what she has to say about her experience here in this National Zookeeper Week spotlight.
What kind of animals do you work with or what area?
I have worked with most of the animals at the Zoo. Lately, it has been primates in the Chimp Forest area. However, I also cover the contact areas at our Zoo (Farmyard and Giraffe Feeding Station).
How long have you been working at the zoo?
I have been working at the Zoo for roughly 9.5 months.
What steps did you take in order to become an animal keeper?
Becoming an animal keeper has been a long journey for me. Obtaining a college degree was just the “basics.” Countless emails, hours of volunteer work, interning, applications, and provisional work allowed me to become the animal keeper I am today.
What is something you do everyday for the animal that would surprise us?
Every day, we provide our animals with enrichment, in order to ensure that they are never bored. Enrichment can range from new smells, new sounds, toys, food items, etc.
What do you want the public to know about zookeeping?
I want the public to know that zookeeping really is the best job in the world. It is exhausting, dirty, and I won’t be rich any time soon. But, how many people can say they’ve given a rhino a mud bath?
Why did you want to become a keeper?
I wanted to become a keeper because I wanted to play a part in conservation. I know of the great work that zoos across the country do, and I wanted to contribute to that. Not to mention, the relationships you build with your animals.
What hobbies/interests do you have outside of your zoo life?
Outside of my Zoo life, I enjoy shopping, movies, and music. I also feel very passionate about empowering underrepresented youth and communities.
What is your favorite part of a typical day at the zoo?
My favorite part of a typical day at the Zoo is that no matter where I am I always have the opportunity to bond with and learn from an animal. Every single day is a learning opportunity.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of my job is working in the harsh winter. Everything is icy, your fingers hurt, and I have about five layers on.
Where would you travel to see animals, or what places have you traveled to?
I have always wanted to go to Africa, Australia, and Alaska to see wildlife in their natural habitats.
What do you think is the most important reason to support the zoo?
The most important reason to support the Zoo is the awareness it brings to guests. Animals in the wild need all the people to care and fight for them. Our Zoo is in the heart of Baltimore. Where else can youth get to witness a lion up close?