Lion, tigers, and Newtown residents — oh my! Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport is home to more than 350 animals and just so happens to also be the place where many who live in Newtown choose to work to make a positive difference in the lives of animals.
The Newtown Bee sat down with five of those local residents to find out about the work they do behind the scenes to help make Connecticut’s one and only zoo a fun and educational experience for all.
Rainforest In The City
With the Beardsley Zoo’s variety of enclosures, it has the ability to care for animals from all different regions of the world, including rainforests.
Sandy Hook resident Ryan Paoletti is a zookeeper at the Beardsley Zoo, in charge of all the exhibits in the Rainforest Building, which houses a wide range of monkeys, boas, bats, and frogs.
He started his profession in animal care back in 2012, while working in the Farm Yard area of the zoo. He trained with seasoned keepers, gaining hands-on experience that set the foundation for him to branch out working with the rainforest animals full-time.
Before the zoo is even open to the public, Mr Paoletti can be found evaluating the animals, feeding them, and cleaning the area.
“We check on all the animals’ well-being and make sure everyone is healthy,” he said.
Zookeepers like Mr Paoletti also practice certain routines with the animals on a regular basis. They train animals by rewarding them with treats when they accomplish acts like standing up, walking on a scale, or opening their mouth.
These specific actions are called “behaviors,” as they are natural for the animal to do, and help keepers evaluate the animal’s welfare more…
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