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 zookeeper at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo includes Julie Bassett who has been a zookeeper for seven years. Bassett mostly takes care of a flamingos named Frauns and Huans.

The word “flamingo” comes from the Spanish and Latin word “flamenco,” meaning fire, referring to those birds that get fiery-colored feathers. Pink, orange, or red feathers are caused by carotene in their food. Carotene is the same pigment that makes tomatoes red and carrots orange. A wild flamingo’s diet includes shrimp, plankton, algae, and crustaceans.