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 Hayley Baas about her experience as a TWP keeper.
How long have you worked at TWP?
A little over a year. I started last September.
Which animals do you care for?
I’m a hoofstock keeper. I work primarily with the giraffes and red river hogs.
Who is your favorite animal in Tanganyika?
Dudley. There’s just something about him. He’s a really cool giraffe, he’s very friendly, he’s really good to do training with. He can kind of be a jerk sometimes, but I do like them all.
If you could add an animal to the Tanganyika Experience what animal would you add?
Nile Hippos. I’m pretty obsessed with Fiona (a baby Nile Hippo born on Jan. 24, 2017 at the Cincinnati Zoo) right now. I think that it would be really cool to have an exhibit of nile hippos then have the pygmy hippos right next to them, then you could see the difference. That would be pretty sick.
If you could ambassador any animal in Tanganyika at all which animal would you choose?
I think it would be pretty cool to ambassador one of the baby giraffes on a little harness. Or maybe the okapis that would be really cool. That would be cool to walk Amaranta through the park and let people see him. I’ll go with okapis, okapis would be cool.
If you weren’t a zookeeper what would you be?
I would probably want to be a professional athlete. I did sports all through high school and into college. I played lacrosse.
What is your favorite Tanganyika memory?
I think it was Celebrity’s birth. It was my first giraffe birth. The first one I’d ever seen. It was really cool. I got to watch it from start to finish, and it was pretty awesome.
What is your favorite food they serve at the pavilion deli?
I really enjoy the coffee at our Kanga-Brew coffee bar. The caramel latte is really good.
How old were you when you wanted to become a zookeeper?
Too young to remember. I’ve wanted to do it my whole life. It’s just kind of who I am. I think just going to the Cincinnati Zoo when I was a kid and meeting the different keepers. Then in high school I did an internship at the Cincinnati Zoo so I got first hand experience there. I feel like every little kid wants to do something with animals but for me that just never went away.
What is your favorite event we do at Tanganyika?
Probably Twilight Tour. I think it’s cool that guests get to go behind the scenes, see the barn, see stuff that they wouldn’t normally get to see, and see where the animals live at night.
What animal do you feel you are the most like?
I would like to be like Stacks (our male indian rhino) because he just lays in his mud hole all day and that seems like a really great life. But, according to Annemarie, I’m most like a springbok. She says I’m very quick and... I don’t know, she said springbok. Let’s go with Stacks! I think I’m like Stacks. I can be kind of lazy and lay in my mud hole all day, but I also like to have fun and run around sometimes.
Thanks to Hayley for all your hard work at Tanganyika. You’re joy and passion for your animals is great and we are lucky to have you as part of our team! Thank you for all you do!