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 this well from day to day. This month I talked to Karen Randolph about her experience as a TWP keeper.
What animals do you care for? I’m in charge of all the large cats. So I only work with the large cats and I also work in the nursery.
Who is your favorite animal here? Definitely Gilbert. Tigers are definitely my favoritest animal and Gilbert (our male white tiger) is just an awesome tiger. He’s just super sweet. I love Skye (our female white tiger) a lot too but he is just more personable than she is. I love Skye in her own way, she’s very bouncy and happy, she’s awesome to work with also. But I really do like them all. One of my favorite things about tigers is that they chuff and Gilbert is super chuffy, but Skye only chuffs at me when she’s in heat. He was hand raised and she was mother raised and that’s why Skye isn’t as willing to chuff for me.
If you could add an animal to Tanganyika’s line up what species would you add? Lions for sure! I think they might be in the plan.
If you weren’t a zoo keeper what would you be? I don’t know, I’d be sad. I worked as an animal control officer in between zoo keeping. It was pretty much the best day ever when I was able to come back to zoo keeping. I super appreciate the opportunity to work with exotics again and I hope that I never have to not.
What is your favorite Tanganyika memory? I probably have some from in the nursery. I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many special babies in there. It’s just amazing. A specific moment would be… Probably this spring when I go to start our first snow leopard baby no the bottle. I was the first one to bottle feed her and that was pretty special.
What is your favorite Tanganyika event? I really like Twilight Tour. It’s awesome to be able to show everyone behind the scenes stuff.
Favorite meal served at the pavilion deli? I guess the pretzels.
How old were you when you knew you wanted to become a zoo keeper? I knew I wanted to work with animals at a pretty young age, I think I was probably seven or eight. I really thought about being a vet for quite a while. When I got into high school I started really looking into it more and I decided I would much rather work with animals on a daily basis rather than mainly when they are sick. So at that point I steered myself towards zoo keeping. So I went to college for zoology.
Which animal are you most like? I would want to be a tiger I guess. Their environment kind of sucks these days so I guess I’d want to be a tiger at the zoo!
Thank you Karen for being a really good zoo keeper. You care for and love your animals with the same amount of love and care a mother shows to her children. You treat these creatures like family and you are just as loyal to your team. Thank you for being a shining example of what it means to be a zoo keeper!