Keeper Profile, Erik in Carnivores

Learn more about the talented and dedicated individuals that take care of the zoo animals in our newest installment of the Keeper Profiles series. Missed the first ones? Check out all the past blogs here.

Erik Bowker

What area do you work?
I am one of two primary carnivore keepers.

How did you become a keeper? (Did you get a degree? Did you volunteer or intern. etc?):
I graduated from U.C. Davis with a degree in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology in 2008. I began volunteering here at the Sacramento Zoo during the summer of my junior year followed by a semester internship at a Big Cat rescue facility in Texas. After graduating I worked with dogs and cats at a boarding facility before starting to volunteer again at the Sacramento Zoo. A position eventually opened up and I was accepted.

How long have you worked at the Sacramento Zoo?:
I have been working at the Sacramento Zoo for a year and a half.

When did you know that you wanted to be a zookeeper?:
From a very young age I knew that I wanted to work with animals, so as a kid I would tell everyone I wanted to be a veterinarian. As I got older and realized there were a number of jobs available working with animals I began to look at Zoo keeping and animal training as an ideal choice.

What is your favorite part of the job?:
I really enjoy the relationships I have developed with the various animals I work with. They each have their own personality and respond differently to training, feeding, enrichment, and daily interactions they have. It’s very interesting to see how different two animals of the same species can react to the same stimulus.

If you were starting a new zoo, which animal would you choose first to put in it? (Can be based on your favorite or conservation need):
I would choose the wolverine, mostly because they are cool, but also because I think it is important for people to learn about conservation of animals native to North America. The wolverine has been greatly impacted by human population growth and expanding development as well as global warming. Not many people know much about this species having them in zoos would really help spread the message about native species.

What advice would you give someone who wants to be a zoo keeper?:
In addition to a college education, getting as much experience (volunteering/internships) as you can is definitely the best way to get your foot in the door. I would recommend putting in time at several facilities with a variety of species. Even if you know that there is a specific type of animal you want to work with, it is very difficult to specialize right from the start, so if you have a good background in a diverse collection of species it will always help.

Tell us something interesting about one of the animals in your area. It can be factual or a personality quirk.
Our youngest tiger thinks she is the world’s best stalker, hiding behind things….even when they aren’t there.
You have just read the article entitled Keeper Profile, Erik in Carnivores. Please read the article from What A Giraffe Hearts About more. And you can also bookmark this page with the URL :


Post a Comment

Copyright © 2013. What A Giraffe Hearts