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By: The Elephant Sanctuary

Sanctuary Caregiver Day

June 8 is the second annual Animal Sanctuary Caregiver Day, a day to recognize the important work of caregivers in sanctuaries, rescues and wildlife centers worldwide. Today, we celebrate the hard work and dedication of The Sanctuary's elephant Caregivers. This amazing team of professionals work day in and day out to provide the best possible care to Ronnie, Minnie, Debbie, Sissy, Billie, Flora, Tange, Sukari, Nosey, Shirley and Tarra.

In the spirit of the day, we asked our Care Staff to share their passion, in hopes that they inspire you as they have us.

When did you know you wanted to work with animals?

As a little kid, I was obsessed with animals and wanted to be a vet or marine biologist. In college, I majored in animal science. -Kaitlin

The onsite interview! I knew this was it! -Wesley

About halfway through college I realized I wouldn't be happy with my original career path and had always wanted to work with animals, so I decided to switch. -Biz

I knew I wanted to work with animals since I was 3 years old. I remember talking about wanting to go to vet school since I was very young and that was my goal until I was about 20 years old. As I went through college and explored alternatives to vet school and jobs in the vet care and zoology field, I found animal behavior and knew that was where my heart was leading me. -Kristy

I have always been an animal lover, but I was in my early twenties when I knew that I wanted a career in animal care. Once I started working with elephants in protected contact, I knew that I had made the correct decision. -Scott

I never really considered a career in animal care until after I graduated from college. I was unhappy at my job then, and essentially found myself going back to the drawing board. It was at that point I found out about animal care as a profession. The more I was around exotic animals, and the more I understood what animal care was really all about, the more I realized that this was the path I was meant to follow. -Jessica



What is your favorite part of your job?

Observing elephants in the habitat, doing their own thing, unbothered by humans. -Kaitlin

Everything! -Wesley

Watching the elephants discover natural behaviors they had never used before Sanctuary. -Biz

My favorite part of the job is seeing the elephants have a breakthrough. Whether that is behavioral, in training, social, human trust, etc. Getting to aid an elephant to trust and willingly work with you is truly rewarding, especially when they have come from a poor background. To see them gain confidence, become engaged, make a decision with choice, whatever it is, is what drives me each day. -Kristy

My favorite part of my job is seeing the elephants enjoying themselves out in the habitat, being as free as possible in captivity. It warms my heart to see them confidently explore, relax; and enjoy their lives as elephants should. -Scott

My favorite thing about my job is twofold. I love working outside in a natural environment. We get to see the seasons change and native wildlife prosper right before our eyes every day. The second part is getting to know every animal individually. It is one thing to work with exotic species, it is another thing entirely to get to know each animal personally; knowing what their favorite foods are, where their favorite spot to graze is, how silly they can be once they are comfortable being around you, etc. It really takes everything we do and makes it so much more meaningful and purposeful. -Jessica

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