During National Zookeeper Week, July 15 through 21, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is profiling a few of the hardworking, passionate and driven individuals who spend each day caring for its animals. Meet Crystal Querry, senior animal technician - small mammals.
What animals do you care for?
I primarily care for pygmy hippo “Wolee”, golden lion tamarins, a sloth and the new langurs, among other Children’s Zoo animals.
What motivated or inspired you to become a zookeeper?
I fell in love with Judy the elephant as a child and loved coming to her birthday parties. As I got older I knew that this is what I wanted for my life. I’m sure her legacy inspired many.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Educating guests about the pygmy hippo, I hear more often than anything else people say that he’s a baby but he’s actually 43 years old.
What is an animal story that always makes you laugh regarding one of the animals in your care?
Wolee our male pygmy hippo spreads his poo and marks areas; he sometimes gets us. All you can do is laugh.
How long have you worked at the OKC Zoo?
I have been at the OKC Zoo for 8 years.
What is a conservation project that you are proud that the OKC Zoo supports or that your particularly passionate about?
I am very passionate about the Bowling for Rhinos campaign which I chaired in 2013. We placed fourth overall and I was able to go to Indonesia to see how the International Rhino Foundation uses the funds to protect the Sumatran and Javan rhinos. It was life changing to see how these rhino protection units dedicate their lives to protect and conserve.
What is your favorite type of enrichment to prepare?
I love doing holiday enrichment. Like when we do birthdays for the animals it's very personal to me. When we got Francesca for Christmas, or when we celebrate Wolee's birthday.