The animals may be the stars at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo, but this week their keepers will be in the spotlight, said Sara Hamlin, curator and zoo supervisor. In honor of this being National Zoo Keepers Week, they will offer free programs at 2 p.m. daily Monday through Thursday, July 17-20.
The programs will feature a “meet and greet” with a different keeper each day.
“Each of those days a keeper will be hanging out with one of our animal residents to show off how awesome it is to be a zookeeper and to answer any questions you may have,” Hamlin said.
The programs include:
Monday: Stop by the grizzly bear exhibit where keeper Ashley Burdick will let the four bears play with a water hose.
Tuesday: Watch keeper Kate Beyersdorf conduct a training session with the servals.
Wednesday: Go to the lion exhibit and follow the markers to a behind-the-scenes program; keeper Liz Clark will introduce the zoo’s newest animal, Zito, the lar gibbon. Zito is not yet on public display.
Thursday: Alex Odin, the zoo’s newest keeper, will be in the Raptor Center with an education animal.
The keepers won’t spend all of their special week engaged in extra duties, Hamlin said. She’ll be recognizing their work daily and the Great Bend Zoological Society will treat them to lunch.
National Zoo Keeper Week was created in 2007 by the American Association of Zoo Keepers. The week is devoted to recognizing the contributions keepers bring to the care and conservation of wildlife and wild places.
AAZK’s mission is to advance excellence in the profession, foster effective communication beneficial to animal care, support deserving conservation projects, and promote the preservation of our natural resources and animal life.