St. Louis Zoo celebrates Zookeeper Day

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Sure it might be the rainbow trout that`s helping hold the attention of these Humboldt penguins.

But it also might be the fact these St. Louis zoo keepers can talk the talk and walk the walk when it comes to their work.

'So I traveled to Punta San Juan,' says Samantha Griffin, Zoo Keeper Penguins.  'It`s a small area in Peru.'

That was Samantha griffin`s trip to see the penguins up close.

But like many St. Louis zoo keepers, it`s not just the work that happens in St. Louis that`s important.

'We did a translocation project,' says Chris Johnson, Zoo Keeper Antelopes.  'What that means is we took two specific species and we translocated them to another island.  Reason we did that is because we had the threat of a brown tree snake.  It was introduced into Guam and it wiped out of all birds on Guam.'

A group of 20 zoos from across the United States sent zoo keepers to areas around the globe like the Mariana Islands.

There they worked on an island called Tinian off the coast of Saipan.

'The goal of it is to try and create kind of insurance populations on each island,' says Matt Schamberger, Zoo Keeper Birds.  'That whole island chain is made up of a dozen islands.  So at any time not only is the brown tree snake a threat but also natural disasters and the island is very small.'

Sometimes seeing is believing when it comes to saving a species.

'I can hear the calls in the bird house or wherever like the Mariana fruit dove,' says Sara Rekart, Zoo Keeper Birds.  'But to actually go in the wild.  I didn`t see it in the wild but I heard it which was very neat.'

'It`s the largest colony of Humboldt penguins that they come to,' says Griffin.  'Just to see the birds I work with in their natural environment and work with them and learn about them was just an awesome experience.'

And an experience that they`ll bring with them in their daily work.