Keeper Confidential | Bethany

It’s National Zoo Keeper Week, a week to honor our dedicated animal care staff who work day in and day out through the blistering heat, frigid cold, soaking downpours and frightening hurricanes to take care of the animals at the Zoo. The Zoo has 28 Zoo Keepers and animal care staff in six areas – Asia, Africa, Australia and Bird team, Reptiles and Amphibians team, ZooFarm and North America team and the Program Animal team. This includes rover Keepers who assist and fill in for Keepers in various areas, as well as temporary and part-time Keepers. In celebration of National Keeper Week, we thought you’d like to hear from those individuals who work care for the animals that we adore so much.

Meet Bethany.

Zoo Keeper, Asia Team

Q1. Why did you choose to become a Zoo Keeper?

A1. I have always loved animals and been interested in conservation efforts.  Working as a Zoo Keeper allows me to help inspire others to care about animals as well as contribute to conservation efforts all around the world.

Bethany (far right) and other Zoo Keepers from around the world help construct orangutan and sun bear habitats in Malaysia during a conservation trip in 2017.

Q2. How long have you been a Zoo Keeper?

A2. I have been a Zoo Keeper at the Virginia Zoo for six years.  I also have two additional years in the zoo field interning and working at zoological facilities in Arkansas, Chicago, and Oregon.

Q3. What is your favorite thing about being a Keeper?

A3. Being able to build relationships and trust with the animals that you work with, along with being able to inspire young kids to be interested in animals and conservation.

Q4. Is there a particular animal at the Virginia Zoo you feel like you have a meaningful connection with?

A4. Suntil the sun bear.  She is awesome animal with an interesting story and background having come from the illegal pet trade in Malaysia.  She can be a shy bear but once you build that trust and relationship with her she is awesome to work with.

Q5. If you could be any animal in the world, what would you want to be and why?

A5. I would probably be an orangutan.  I would enjoy being able to travel along the tree tops and make large nests to take naps up in the trees.

Next time you see Bethany around our Asia – Trail of the Tiger exhibit, thank her for all of her hard work. Check back later this week to hear from other Keepers and read about all of the exciting things they do!