Did you know that today starts National Zookeeper Week? Hug a zookeeper!!
Zookeepers are an interesting case. They’re well educated (73 percent have a Bachelor of Science degree or higher) but aren’t well paid. On average, they make less than $25,000 a year, with two-thirds requiring support from second jobs or family. There is no real room for advancement or moving up, and outsiders generally consider it dirty and unglamorous work.
Despite all those challenges, however, turnover is incredibly low, and many keepers even volunteer for months or years before actually getting hired. When Stuart and Jeffery asked zookeepers what would cause them to quit, few could come up with anything.
For the zookeepers, they are part of a community and have a deep sense of responsibility to the animals. The animals have given up their freedom in order to educate the public, and the zookeepers see it as their responsibility to provide the very best care for them. If they don’t care for the animals, who will? If an animal is sick, they will often skip breaks or come into the zoo in the middle of the night to care for it.
Zookeepers are hard to manage by any traditional measure. They don’t see their work as a job—it’s a moral duty. They see themselves as stewards of the well-being of the animals, and more broadly, of wildlife conservation.
Also good for the kids. They encourage having slow readers read to the family pets. A dog will listen to a kid read a whole book one damn sssyl-la——-ble at a time, and it will never get frustrated, or correct their pronunciation, or start playing Angry Bird because it can’t stand listening to the slowness any more. The dog will look at the kid approvingly, because, human. Human is talking. Human is interacting.
So this is a great win-win.
i am a 26 year old man and this almost made me cry
This almost made me cry-
My late cat Pouncer loved to be read to. He wouldn’t leave the room unless I stopped.
And on his death bed I read him Alice in Wonderland, and he purred till he could purr no more