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 Lexie Buchanan about her experience as a TWP keeper.
How long have you worked at Tanganyika? I started working for Tanganyika in October of 2015.
What animals do you care for? I’m a hoofstock keeper. I mainly work with the okapi and the rhino departments. When I first started internships in Omaha they had you pick the top three areas you wanted to work in. I picked hoofstock because almost all my animal experience was with horses or small animals so I thought I would start with something I know, so I did hoofstock.
Who is your favorite animal here? I really like Amaranta. He’s very charismatic and is great for helping get people involved in the okapi cause.
If you could add an animal to Tanganyika’s line up? I want nile hippos. The big hippos and I want white rhinos too.
If you weren’t a zoo keeper what would you be? I know a lot of other keepers say this but, I started going to school to become a vet. Pretty soon realized that you get more animal time doing something like this rather than being a vet. I like this more because it’s more of the hands on deal I was wanting originally.
What is your favorite Tanganyika memory? Probably the first baby giraffe I saw born. I got to see the whole thing. That was Zeal!
What is your favorite Tanganyika event? It’s Pumpkins at the Park. I finally got to work it this last year and got to do a little bit of ambassadoring. Outside of the ambassadoring it’s fun for us just as much as it is for the public! I like Twilight Tour too, except the one time I’ve done twilight I was out at the rhino feeding station and Henry was on exhibit and he decided he didn’t want to do it that night. So I kinda just stood there.
Favorite meal served at the pavilion deli? The corndogs.
How old were you when you knew you wanted to become a zoo keeper? I definitely thought about it since I was a little kid. I had one of those little career books of kids and it was like “Jobs with Animals for Girls” One of the jobs they talked about was zoo keeping. It’s one of those things where you think to yourself that it would be such a cool job, but you don’t know anyone who does it so it’s hard to really know. It’s so much different than I thought it would be, but I like it so much more than I thought I would.
Which animal are you most like? Maybe… maybe like Dudley. Dudley the Giraffe. He kinda does his own thing compared to the rest of the herd but he still likes be with his herd. I can be charismatic like Dudley or I cannot be.
Thanks to Lexie 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!