Working with animals at the zoo is hard work but rewarding. They know when someone cares

June 25, 2016
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Working with animals at the zoo is hard work but rewarding. They know when someone cares

Working with animals at the zoo is hard work but rewarding. They know when someone cares

“I love animals. Working with them is hard work but relaxing. I like to see the immediate affect. I have worked here almost three years and I am making a difference. Magoo, our white tiger, is not an aggressive cat, but he didn’t like people. He will now rub up on the fence when I am around and let me pet him. They are receptive and have feelings. They know when someone cares. That bond with animals is rewarding to me. There is instant gratification every day and it doesn’t get better than that. This is not a typical zoo where you do one thing. I do it all. I feed the animals twice a day, I check on them several times a day, give them enrichment, and build and repair things. I am here seven days a week and live here with my family, but this is not my zoo. I just work here and don’t get paid much for it. Sometimes my family can be critical because I left a job that paid good, but this is a dream come true opportunity. My kids get to help and learn about the animals. PETA has been critical of the zoo because it is small and people listen to the negative, but if people come out here with an open mind and understand the concept behind our zoo, it changes their mind when they see it for themselves. Changes have been made and there are more things we want to do. This zoo is important for the community. Here you get personal attention. I will answer questions and walk people around and tell them the stories and about the animals. We have school groups and people who have never been to a zoo. We have almost 50 acres with room to expand enclosures, but they all already meet the size requirements now. A lot of these animals were pets and as much as I love them, having a tiger as a pet is not a good idea. A lot of these animals were pets and as much as I love them, having a tiger as a pet is not a good idea. In Alabama it is illegal to possess native wildlife. The bobcats were pets. Someone found the largest one abandoned when he was a baby and raised him as a pet. He was a 40-pound house cat but a neighbor reported him to conservation. Because he was neutered and hand-raised, he couldn’t be rehabilitated and was going to be put down, so we brought him here. Similar things happened with our raccoon and coyote. We get calls several times a month about abandoned animals. This job is a lot of hard work but it is so much fun. I hope this zoo gets a better name. It is important. It educates people about animals and conservation around the world. It get kids interested at an early age about making a difference when they get older. If zoos weren’t here and people weren’t learning about it, it doesn’t spark the interest as much when you are looking at animals in a book. Today I left off the radio when I was working in the barn and it was quiet and peaceful to just listen to the breeze and the animals. There birds were so talkative and the lemurs were making their cooing sounds. I love it here.

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