Keepers from Utica Zoo among more than 200 worldwide at conference

By Associated Press and WKTV

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP/WKTV) - More than 200 zoo keepers from around the world are in Syracuse this week for a conference, including keepers from the Utica Zoo.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo's chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers is hosting the group's 39th annual conference through Thursday where Zoo keepers will hear presentations from animal care experts and other zoo professionals.

Utica Zoo Executive Director Andria Delisle-Heath says that Utica Zookeepers will be attending on Wednesday and Thursday to learn the latest trends in animal care, especially when it comes to exotic animals. She says she is encouraging employees to network with keepers from other zoos, especially those in similar climates to Utica. Delisle-Heath says she often gets asked how they take care of animals in the winter in the Utica area.

One of the other goals of attending the conference is making sure that viewing for the public is optimal at the Utica Zoo, while maintaining safety for both the visitors and the animals, Delisle-Heath said. She and the Utica Zoo's head curator have already attended the National Association of Zoos and Aquariums in Phoenix, where they began work toward getting the zoo re-accredited. Delisle-Heath said the zoo had been accredited for many years, up until roughly the mid 2000s.

On Tuesday, those attending the conference get to tour the zoo in Syracuse, but many were in Utica touring its zoo beforehand.

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