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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Zookeeper Gear: Zookeepers Have a Problem with Diversity

This is a really interesting article that address one of the major challenges that the zookeeping and aquarist profession is facing it.  I hope you enjoy it - I'll be weighing in with my thoughts and feelings tomorrow.  Thanks Zookeeper Gear for calling more attention to this overlooked issue!

Ask any zookeeper about the importance of diversity, and they’re likely to launch into a well-rehearsed speech about biological niches and the importance of the global diversity of species. Zookeepers are trained and passionate conservationists, and they know their stuff when it comes to this topic. But there’s another form of diversity that we don’t talk about nearly enough – zookeeper diversity. That is, the diversity of zookeepers themselves. It’s alarmingly low, and it’s something that we should really be thinking a lot more about.
I’ve visited many zoos across the United States. And I’ve attended many conferences, workshops, meetings, and professional development courses over the years. And without fail, the vast, vast, majority of the zookeepers, aquarists, curators, and other animal care professionals that I’ve met and observed have not been people of color. While the last several decades have seen the zookeeping profession shift in a strong direction toward gender diversity (75% of zookeepers identify as female, according to a 2000 study by the American Association of Zoo Keepers), zookeeper diversity is still extremely lacking when it comes to race and ethnicity.
Read the rest of the article here

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