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Meet a Keeper: Carolyn Horton

I originally started at the Memphis Zoo as a volunteer almost 34 years ago. I had been an x-ray technician before having my two kids. I did not want to go back into that field when my kids were ready to start to school. After talking to, then mammal curator, Chuck Brady and finding that I could work alongside of keepers, I eagerly started in the giraffe run. I went home filthy and sweaty but madly in love with the job! After a year of working in the giraffe area and the old children’s petting zoo, I was offered a temporary position on the overnight shift taking care of a baby gorilla named "Kwashi." I was in heaven!! A position came open at the end of that shift, and I was hired as a full time keeper in giraffes. 

After 5 and a half years of working various areas and hand-raising an assortment of baby animals including an orangutan, aardwolves and cape hunting dogs, I took a position at the Miami Metrozoo. I worked with a wide variety of animals there including Indian rhinos, brown bears and sloth bears, gaur, primates, and even got to work with koalas. It was great, but Miami was never home! After Hurricane Andrew I decided to come home and just had my 21st anniversary this time around. 

This job has fulfilled my passion for animals like no other job ever could. 

My education is simple. I had a year of college at what was then Memphis State University (now U of M) and completed a 2 year course in radiologic technology and passed my registry exam. I worked there another 5 and a half years until I had my first child. I read everything I can get my hands on animal-wise, but experience has taught me more than any book ever could. 

I cannot imagine getting up in the morning and not having these animals to come in to care for and love. 

Posted by Zoo Info at 10:30 AM