Pros: benefits package, location
Cons: ignorant and proud management that make a hostile work environment
I can only speak of Central Park Zoo, where I spend 6 months as a Wild Animal Keeper. I am an experience reptile keeper who has had the benefit of working and training with some of the best names in the business. Given my background in reptiles, management put me in that section first. When I started they were all very excited about the skill I could bring to the table. As I began to show those skills it became clear that behaving like a trained keeper over stepped my bounds and made my seniors and management very uncomfortable. Actions I made, that have brought me praise in the past, only brought me formal reviews and threats. I was consistently compared to other keepers and seniors. In one review I was told if I wanted to keep my job I needed to be perfect. By the time I left,I had been told that I was to not so much as look at a reptile. I was afraid to make any decisions on my own, for fear of reprimand and loosing my job. Managers have little knowledge and little interest in learning about reptiles specifically, therefore make uninformed and ignorant calls about the collection. There are animals in that collection that are actively ignored by the curator and collections manager because they are not of priority. As a result these animals are stuck with no hope of being sent to a different facility where they could have a ore fulfilling life. This clearly leads to animal care that WCS and AZA should be ashamed of. It was a weight off of my shoulders when they told me they decided to terminate after my probationary period, because I know I would have tried to stick it out there for too long. The keeper staff is made up of good people, but they are all being held back from their full potential.