Tanganyika is a wonderful and interactive place, but it didn’t just become that way over night! The people who work at Tanganyika are the ones who keep this whole place continuing on it’s path to becoming one of the best zoo experiences in America! So we want to give credit where it is due by giving some of our most talented zoo keepers a chance to talk about what they do and who they are! This also gives you a chance to understand the hard work and creativity that goes into making TWP operate well from day to day. This month I talked to Megan Spofford about her experience as a TWP keeper.
How long have you worked at Tanganyika? I started in November, 2014.
What animals do you care for? I’m a lemur/siamang/penguin/otter keeper and trainer, but I started out as a giraffe and rhino relief keeper.
Who is your favorite animal here? It’s really hard to say just one favorite, but Ben the siamang and I have a really special connection. When I first started here a lot of the other keepers warned me that Ben was a problem child. He was just showing a lot of aggression toward the other keepers and was very grabby, but when I went in I would just show him as much respect as I could and when he would how signs of those behaviors I would just ignore him. From there he started trusting me, he’s never tried to grab at me, and we just grew on each other.
If you could add an animal to Tanganyika’s line up what would it be? Sea lions! This would be impossible but I would also love beluga whales!
If you weren’t a zoo keeper what would you be? I think I would be a professional organizer! Do you know the show ‘Hoarders’? Basically one of those experts who go in and organize someone else’s life for them.
What is your favorite Tanganyika memory? My favorite memory is actually the time all the keepers had to round up a bunch of orphaned baby ducks. So we were all running around the park trying scoop them all up out of different parts of the moat! It was just really fun to see everybody so excited and working together at the same time!
What is your favorite Tanganyika event? I really like Twilight Tour. I like it just because it’s kind of enriching for the animals because it extends past our regular hours so it’s something a little different for them. Also because it’s an event that is specifically for the animals so that we can afford to take care of them during the winter. I think it’s a great fund raiser.
Favorite item served at the pavilion deli? Can I say their soft drinks? How about the lemonade? I like the frozen lemonade icee!
How old were you when you knew you wanted to become a zoo keeper? I was a sophomore in college. I’d wanted to be a vet pretty much my entire life, but then I did an internship at a place in North Carolina, at a cat sanctuary and that kind of changed my whole direction in life.
Thanks Megan for all your hard work! Tanganyika wouldn’t be the same without you! It was great to sit down with you and learn what makes you passionate about your job as well as for the animals you care for!