MURRELLS INLET, SC – (WBTW) Zoo keepers at Brookgreen Gardens say no two days are the same when you’re responsible for the care of more than 200 animals.
Staff at Brookgreen Gardens say many people don’t know there is a zoo onsite, but it is part of a select group of zoos in the country that received accreditation from the Association of Aquariums and Zoos.
Jared Wagner is the newest zoo keeper at Brookgreen Gardens and tells News13, playing with the animals is just a small part of their job as it is important to maintain a safe distance.
Wagner says zoo keepers have to make sure all the animals are fed, healthy, have enough environmental enrichment, go through training and are cleaned up after.
Due to the size of the zoo, zoo keepers at Brookgreen Gardens are also in charge of preparing all of the food for the animals.
“Really big zoos have a commissary where people are making the diets and they can send it to the zoo keepers,” Wagner said. “We have a shift where we just make all the food for all the animals.”
Wagner says the hardest part of the job is losing an animal they spend so much time developing a relationship with. However, he added there is a silver lining to losing an animal to old age because it means they have done their jobs well.
Right now, Brookgreen Gardens is working to raise money to renovate their on-site veterinary clinic. You can read more about that here.