MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD)– The mission of the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo is to help people develop a sustainable relationship with nature. In so doing, the Zoo provides the recreation and education of the people, the conservation of wildlife, and the discovery of biological knowledge.

The zoo almost has 400 animals from around the world with almost 200 different species. Some of the specious include insects, reptiles, birds and mammals displayed in a variety of exhibits.

Zookeepers are animals professionals who are responsible for maintaining the health of their charges as well as ensuring proper maintenance of their habitat. The duties of a zookeeper usually include:

  • Feeding the animals
  • Administering medication
  • Cleaning and maintaining the animal’s enclosure
  • Reporting unusual changes in behavior to managers
  • Assisting with veterinary procedures
  • Keeping detailed records

One zoo keeper at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo includes Stephanie Mcmanus who has been a zoo keeper for six months. Mcmanus mostly takes care of a Hippopotamuses names Monroe and has grown to have a special bond with him.

Hippos love water, which is why the Greeks named them the “river horse.” Hippos spend up to 16 hours a day submerged in rivers and lakes to keep their massive bodies cool under the hot African sun. Hippos are graceful in water, good swimmers, and can hold their breath underwater for up to five minutes.

However, they are often large enough to simply walk or stand on the lake floor, or lie in the shallows. Their eyes and nostrils are located high on their heads, which allows them to see and breathe while mostly submerged.

Hippos also bask on the shoreline and secrete an oily red substance, which gave rise to the myth that they sweat blood. The liquid is actually a skin moistener and sunblock that may also provide protection against germs.