PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Creating and continuing bonds with wild animals. That’s a day in the life of Peoria zookeeper Roz Wolfram.

For more than four decades, Wolfram has been tending to wild animals at the Peoria Zoo.
Since the Africa exhibit opened 12 years ago, she’s been the primary zookeeper for the Thompson’s gazelles, giraffes, and rhinoceroses.

“I just fell in love with the place,” Wolfram said. “And it just really soothes the soul to work here and see these animals see all the changes the zoo has gone through making Peoria a great place to be.”

After all these years, she said the animals are in tune with her body language, and she can read theirs.

“I can tell by the way (the giraffes) move their heads or their eyes or the way their nostrils move, that there’s something bothering them or when they’re really enjoying this treat,” Wolfram said. “I can also tell when they’re standoff-ish. Ok, I need to look for something that’s making them upset, but they’re also very keen on my actions and where I go.”

Wolfram said she keeps their physical and mental health as her top priority through enrichment activities.

She encourages all those who have never been to the zoo to visit.

“Come and see it. You are transported from the city to the wilds of Africa, Australia, and Asia,” Wolfram said. “You can get an escape.”

The Peoria Zoo is located at Glen Oak Park and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. More information is available on the zoo’s website.

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