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National Zoo Keeper WeekMeet the Bird and Australia Team

July 18, 2016

It’s Day 2 of National Zoo Keeper Week and we’re getting our feathers ruffled with the Bird and Australia Team.

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WHO ARE THE KEEPERS?

Brooke Akright Lead Keeper of Birds and Australia, 6 years of service almost 6 years

Jennah Moore Rover Zoo Keeper, 1 year of service (iIncluding my Asia keeper internship)

Ashley Byers Bird and Australia Intern

WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:

Brooke I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!!), plus a ninja bird catching certificate.

Ashley I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Virginia Wesleyan College.

Jennah I have a Bachelor of Science in biology. I also volunteered at Virginia Living Museum and Virginia Zoo as a keeper aide and worked with a wide range of exotic animals at Busch Gardens for more than 5 years.

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WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE VIRGINIA ZOO?

Brooke We love our animals and do everything we can each day to make them have the best lives possible. We’re lucky to have the opportunity to come in each day and be up close and personal with them.

WHAT’S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE FOR THOSE WANTED TO BE A ZOO KEEPER?

Brooke It’s a seriously dirty job and it is not for the faint of heart! Get plenty of experience volunteering and doing internships, it will help you immensely when trying to find a job.

Jenna I think for a lot of us, being a zoo keeper is our calling. If it’s something that you truly want to do, get a degree in biology, zoology, animal sciences, etc. Volunteer and do internships to get hands on experience. And be patient! It’s a very competitive field and you may have to wait a while to get a job, especially the job you really want.

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WHO/WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ANIMAL AND WHY?

Brooke My favorite animal changes all the time. When you work with so many incredible species, it’s hard to choose just one. The Rhino hornbills and the cassowaries are two of my favorites though because they are rare and we are very lucky to have them at the Zoo. They also challenge me every day to make sure they have plenty of enrichment that will keep them busy.

Ashley The Cinereous vultures are my favorite because they have a ton of personality.

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