Albuquerque BioPark launches first-of-its-kind training program for zookeepers

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The Albuquerque BioPark is launching a new program to make it easier for their zookeepers to further their education and advance their careers.

They call it the ACE program, and it’s a one-of-a-kind certification program spearheaded by BioPark. The idea is to give zookeepers more opportunities for training and promotion.

From feeding the hippos to washing the elephants, our BioPark caretakers devote a great deal of time and energy to caring for the animals at the BioPark

“We spend more time here with our crew members and our animals than with our own families,” said assistant curator of animal welfare Lindsey Eagan. “They are truly an integral part of our lives, so we do everything we can to manage the animal’s life in the most positive and successful way possible.”

But now the BioPark is making sure its zookeepers are doing as well as possible by offering new on-the-job certification programs, so they can continue to learn and grow in their careers.

“We’re excited to be able to motivate goaltenders to progress as they progress through continuing education programs, so there are a lot more steps to stay motivated and excited,” Eagan said.

Prior to the ACE program, animal keepers could only achieve what they called “Level 2” by working at the BioPark. Over the years, many have left Albuquerque feeling like they couldn’t advance their careers here. From now on, the ACE program will train zookeepers up to “level 4”.

“We believe we’re not only going to be able to provide a lot more training and career potential to our staff, but we’re also going to be able to retain the best staff right here at BioPark Albuquerque,” said the assistant manager of CABQ arts. And Culture Brandon Gibson said.

Eagan has been at the BioPark for 15 years. She started out as a zookeeper herself, but during her time at the zoo she noticed that as she rose through the ranks, many people left for other zoos to further their careers.

“There’s a lot of difficulty seeing so many of my colleges, which we love, who were such an integral part of our program, moving because they felt like they weren’t moving forward here because we only had a certain number of senior goalie positions,” Eagan said.

But becoming a senior caretaker is no longer the only option for climbing the career ladder at BioPark.

“That’s the cool thing about this new program, we’re such a dedicated race of humans as zookeepers, so it’s really nice to be able to offer this to other people who are so dedicated to their animals. that they can now progress and be rewarded for staying with the city,” Eagan said.

The ACE program is the first of its kind, not only in Albuquerque, but also in the entire Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Gibson says the city hopes to set an example for other zoos around the world to follow when it comes to training their zookeepers.

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