Dan Meates, Rosamond Gifford Zoo
On this episode of Working: Syracuse, we speak to Dan Meates, a zookeeper at Rosamond Gifford Zoo. When the zoo was founded in 1914, just a handful of animals called the four-acre facility their home. Now, more than 700 diverse species reside in the zoo's 43 acres. As a general curator, Meates oversees specialized zookeepers who care for the expansive variety of species. But all who work at the zoo consider animal conservation the primary goal of their work.

That goal is shared by a small portion of the 1,500 zoos that exist around the globe. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is one of 232 zoos that are an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which promotes participation in several programs dedicated to animal conservation. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo promotes a Species Survival Plan (SSP) Program and participates in more than 500 worldwide SSP Programs to conserve threatened and endangered species. In fact, the zoo is among the top 10 percent of USDA-recognized wildlife exhibitors and is nationally recognized for its Asian elephant breeding program. It also works on research programs for native species in the wild such as the Chittenango ovate amber snail, an endangered snail only found at Chittenango Falls State Park in Chittenango, N.Y., 22 miles southeast of Syracuse.

While the Rosamond Gifford Zoo takes its conservation efforts seriously, it also works to fund engaging programs that connect the zoo with the Syracuse community, hosting year-round events for members and non-members alike such as immersive summer camps for children aged 3 to 14, behind-the-scenes "Twilight at the Zoo" adult programs, and popular events such as Brew at the Zoo, an annual fundraising event that features regional beers, wines, and food.