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 See what Andy had to say about being an Animal Care Professional at the Birmingham Zoo! Happy Zoo Keeper Appreciation Week! Name: Andy Scott Job Title: Animal Care Professional II, Reptiles Favorite Zoo Story: It is nearly impossible to pick just one. I am always very impressed by how intelligent and hardworking my peers are, and how much we do to ensure the zoo’s animals have the highest quality care. From vets, to curators, to managers to keepers, the discussions revolve around what is best for the animals. My personal favorite stories would be a tie between getting to show animals to a little girl who was visually impaired, who later sent me the sweetest braille note (that I will treasure forever), and getting to see a man who was in his 90s come to the zoo for the first time in his life and feeding a giraffe. His boyish grin is all I have to picture if I am having a busy or difficult day. Why did you become an Animal Care Professional? I was always fascinated by animals. I spent much of my childhood outdoors, and also watching documentaries or reading field guides. I went to UAB for theatre with the intention of teaching, but ended up working in retail. I randomly applied to work at the zoo, and hit the jackpot. 7 and a half years later, I have been able to have some amazing experiences, working at two zoos, seeing animal births, medical procedures, training and enrichment, and building/perching habitats. I like to tell our guests I have gotten the chance to take care of everything from rhinos to roaches. It is the best and hardest job I have ever had and it is very rewarding.
 Here is another Animal Care Professional highlight in celebration of National Zoo Keeper Week! See what Sam has to say below: Name: Sam Cohen Job Title: Animal Care Professional II- Ambassador Animals Favorite Zoo Story: It is almost impossible to pick my favorite story since amazing things happen every day when you work with animals. I think one of my favorite stories is how our animals, especially our Vasa parrot (who happens to be named Vasa), surprise us almost daily. One time Vasa started mimicking one of our owls out of the blue, and it was hilarious! Sometimes I’ll hear a chicken and turn around expecting to see one, but nope, it’s just Vasa playing around. I love that every day is completely different when working with animals. Working in the Birmingham Zoo’s Ambassador Animal Department, I’m very lucky to work with everything from birds to reptiles, mammals to insects, and everything in between! Why did you become an Animal Care Professional? I always knew, from the time I could talk, that I wanted to work with animals. Until the middle of High School, my ideas changed almost yearly, from veterinarian, to a researcher, or even going into wildlife rehabilitation. During High School my parents surprised me with the opportunity to shadow zookeepers and marine mammal trainers. I immediately knew this was what I wanted to do, and have never looked back!
 We are continuing to highlight some of our great Zoo Staff Members in celebration of Zoo Keeper Appreciation Week! See below for some information about Jessie: Name: Jessie Griswold Job Title: Lead Animal Care Professional – Animal Health Center Favorite Zoo Story: There are so many stories to tell, but it’s always awesome to see the ACPs in each department to come together with the vet staff during immobilizations. When we anesthetized Bulwagi (our African Elephant) for his tusk procedure, it was an enormous team effort. It took months of preparing, planning, ordering supplies, working with outside organizations, and animal training to have everyone from the Africa Department, Vet staff, ACPs from other Departments, and Maintenance coming together to make the procedure go smoothly and to successfully get Bulwagi back on his feet. That just shows how much of a team BZI is. Why did you become an Animal Care Professional? I’ve always had an interest in wildlife and animal care so I pursued a B.S. in Wildlife Management. I became an ACP to be an advocate for wildlife conservation, particularly for those animals that are often misunderstood. There’s no better way to educate the public on the plight of animals in the wild than to present an animal that they can see up close. Seeing kids’ faces light up when they saw Goober, our African White-backed Vulture, gallop down the hill with his wings spread open to greet them was truly inspirational. This photo is of Jessie at VulPro in South Africa when she was conducting research for her Passion into Conservation Action grant!
 We need your help wishing Khan, the jaguar, a very happy birthday! Be sure to stop by and tell him happy birthday on your next Zoo visit!
 Happy National Zoo Keeper Week! The Birmingham Zoo is celebrating by highlighting some of our great Animal Care Professionals all week long. Below, Celeste shares some information about herself! Name: Celeste Hicks Job Title: Lead Sea Lion Keeper Favorite Zoo Story: This one is so hard! Besides every day I get to spend with the sea lions, my favorite moments at the zoo are the ones I get to spend with guests (especially the little kids) and talk about what we do here. All of us zookeepers love sharing our passion for our animals, and seeing that passion back from our guests makes all the hot, cold, rainy, and long days worth it! Why did you become an Animal Care Professional? I have always known that I wanted to work with marine mammals since I was a little girl. After graduating with my degree in Marine Biology, I interned here at the Birmingham Zoo with the sea lions, and I absolutely fell in love! Sea lions have such wonderful personalities and are so much fun to train. Being able to give these animals the best possible care is what makes this job so wonderful.
 Whether you were the jock, the nerd, or the prom queen, all are welcome to relive your best 80s memories at Rewind at the Zoo – 80s Fest!
 Enjoy a fun weekend at the Birmingham Zoo! With extended summer hours now in effect, you and your family get 2 extra hours of fun every Saturday and Sunday from 9am-7pm!
 The Birmingham Zoo is excited to be involved with Birmingham’s first @freeartbham ! Free Art Friday consists of local artists who create original pieces and leave them in various Birmingham area locations for people to find. Congrats to the winner of this great flamingo artwork!