SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – It’s National Zoo Keeper Week (NZKW) and the staff at Dickerson Park Zoo have decided to share their passion by recreating photos of their favorite animals.

NZKW is a week dedicated to appreciating zookeepers’ hard work, conservation efforts, and passion as well as focusing on the need to protect and preserve wildlife and vanishing habitats.

“I love this campaign. The keepers are a hoot!” said Public Relations/Marketing Director Joey Powell. She said the zoo began the photo recreation idea last year and wanted to continue doing it.

Tia Fletcher, one of the Hoofstock/Carnivore Keepers at Dickerson Park Zoo, and African Lion Adè

A zookeeper is responsible to care for exotic animals and ensuring their habitat is safe and stimulating for the animals. They are responsible not only for the animals’ physical well-being but also for their mental health.

“The zookeepers at Dickerson Park Zoo are rock stars. Their knowledge of the animals in their care and dedication to animal conservation around the world is incredible. National Zookeeper Week is a chance to highlight the value these animal caregivers bring to their profession.” said Powell.

Primates/Birds Keepers Christina Rizzo and Macksi Nichting doing their best impressions of Ring-tail lemurs Alastor and Basil

In support of the hard work of the keepers, the Ozarks Chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers will be holding the annual “Party with the Keepers” on Saturday, July 23st at Dickerson Park Zoo from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Admission will be $5—Kids age 5 and under are free.

Proceeds will be used to support The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (LWC), The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and Action for Cheetahs in Kenya (ACK).

See the slideshow below for more zoo keeper celebrations: