PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — It’s National Zookeeper week and here in Central Illinois zoos are celebrating.
“[Tuesday] night we’re having a potluck out in Glen Oak Park,” said Peoria Zoo Director Yvonne Strode.
“They have questionnaires up to learn about each other, I was just looking at it and ‘what was your favorite animal-themed movie?’ ‘We Bought A Zoo’ seems to be the runaway favorite in that,” said Strode.
“We have a gift for each of them We have some kind of goofy awards and things that have happened over the year with all of the different keepers and animals. We’re going to have a cookout for everybody,” Wildlife Prairie park Director of Wildlife Adrienne Bauer.
While the keepers are getting goodies and having fun, it is also a time to say thank you for all the hard work they do.
“Everyone at the zoo is so dedicated to what they do here, but the zookeepers have so much knowledge. They are the ones here on Christmas morning. They are the ones outside in the freezing weather, pouring rain. If there’s a thunderstorm coming, they’re out. Their first thing is to get the animals safe,” said Strode.
They also acknowledged how important their job is to each facility.
“One of the most fundamental roles we have at the zoo. If the animals weren’t thriving, the zoo wouldn’t exist. So, the zookeepers are really, really essential to a zoo,” said Nancee Hutchinson, zoo curator at Miller Park Zoo.
Those looking to donate to Peoria Zoo can do so by clicking here.