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A zoo is a community, populated by people who hail from a variety of backgrounds, and working from different paths, but all united for the ultimate purpose of helping to protect and promote the fascination and awesome power of animals and their habitats.

It’s easy to say that we at Woodland Park Zoo are here because we all love animals. But above that, we share an intrinsic sense of responsibility to protect the earth and its wildlife and wild places.

Zookeepers, animal health care staff and horticulture staff are three groups of many that fascinate many people. They are the people who directly care for the animals and plants at the zoo and often, animals and plants in need in the wild through our many conservation projects. They are caring, concerned and involved people, their passion for animals and habitat reflected directly in their both in their work lives and personal actions.

We invite you to learn more about these dedicated professionals and see what they do on a daily basis here at the zoo. 




Zookeepers feel they have the best job in the world!

They spend a part of each workday chopping food, scrubbing cages, and raking up poop, but they also train animals, landscape exhibits, and share the wonders of nature with zoo visitors.

Some keepers are highly specialized and especially knowledgeable about particular groups of animals such as great apes, elephants or reptiles. Others are generalists, who pride themselves on being able to provide excellent care for just about any animal placed in their care.

Keepers must be excellent observers, learning the habits and behaviors of the species and the individuals for which they care. Professional keepers must be able to detect subtle changes in an animal’s physical or psychological condition and then work with curators, veterinary staff, and nutritionists to react accordingly.

Zookeepers also work closely with zoo managers on conservation, reproductive husbandry and research projects that may provide important information to help preserve rare and endangered species and habitats.

Some keepers also are involved with making presentations to the public, teaching zoo visitors and the community about the natural history of the animals they care for.

Zookeeping is physically demanding, and keepers are often exposed to the varying types of weather as they do their work. They must be able to juggle priorities on a daily basis, as they deal with an ever-changing collection containing new, newborn, aged, or unwell animals. Along with the elation of working with animals, there is worry and frustration when things don’t go well.

For more information

Zookeeper FAQ

American Association of Zoo Keepers




Animal health careers include: veterinarians, licensed veterinary technicians and lab technicians.

A giraffe with a sore foot. A crocodile with a broken tooth. An x-ray of a bird’s wing. Taking care of these situations and many more are all in a day’s work at Woodland Park Zoo.

Animal care is the primary focus for the dedicated veterinary team at the zoo. Every day veterinarians, vet interns, licensed veterinary technicians and techs in training, keepers and other animal care staff work hard to ensure that the animals are in good health.

Exemplary animal care is more than just examinations and treatment. For the effective treatment of illness and disease, the latest advances in nutrition and preventative medicine, the veterinary staff needs to spend a lot of time studying, learning new treatment options and medications, and most of all, consulting with professionals in virtually every medical field and from all over the world.

Locally, we work with many veterinarians and even human health care providers who we need to assist in cases that require expert resources. These include OB-GYNs, ophthalmologists, endodontists, radiologists and a host of other medical specialists.

Externally, our veterinarians consult with vets from other zoos, wildlife biologists and conservationists who are able to give insights into medical and nutritional care. The zoo’s Indonesian Veterinary Training Program gives our animal health team valuable insights into the care of Indonesian species we have here at the zoo as well as provides training and expertise to zoo and wildlife veterinarians in the home countries of those animals.

Our Mission

Woodland Park Zoo saves wildlife and inspires everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives.

Land Acknowledgment

Woodland Park Zoo recognizes that these are the lands of the Tribal signatories of the Treaty of Point Elliott. We acknowledge their stewardship of this place continues to this day and that it is our responsibility to join them to restore the relationship with the living world around us.

5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103   |  206.548.2500  |   zooinfo@zoo.org

Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Seattle Parks & Recreation
Humane Certification