Zookeepers care for animals on holidays

HORSE CAVE Ky.- Kentucky Down Under may be closed for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean zookeepers aren’t hard at work caring for the creatures of the outback. With no visitors, days like this are seen as great opportunities to focus on caring for the animals.

“When you come in on a day like Christmas or Thanksgiving where we actually are closed, we do get to come in and just spend that extra time focusing on each animal, getting to spend time with them and extra enrichment with them,” said  Kentucky Down Under general manager Mick McGill.

McGill has taken his 9-year-old son Keagan under his wing and uses days like Christmas to show the young zookeeper the fruits of their labor.

“I get to spend time with the animals, which I only get to spend time with cats usually at home. It’s good to have a chance to see wolves and dingoes,” Keagan said.

To add to the fun, the zookeepers provided presents for their furry and shelled friends. Gifts that the animals loved.

“It’s a little bit different today because we like to bring in something special. Extra treats or some toys for the birds. We like to make sure they have a great Christmas as well,” said zookeeper Victoria Doyle.

“We definitely spread holiday cheer for our animals. We brought Christmas gifts in. For our carnivores, we brought big pieces of meat in that’re especially going to love. We’re really happy to make them happy this Christmas,” added zookeeper Ella Settle.

The zoo staff said working on Christmas morning doesn’t feel like work. Instead, it’s a day to share memories, and laughs with family.

“Zookeepers are a family. They spend all day together working throughout the year. It’s just really nice to have everybody together. We get the feeding done, but on top of that, we get to go that one step extra further and make it a day that’s memorable for everybody,” Mcgill said.