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Florida grasshopper sparrow being released on the prarie.

We’re continuing to celebrate National Zookeeper Week by putting the spotlight on the incredible animal care staff at Brevard Zoo. Read on to learn about our Conservation keeper team!

Our Conservation keeper team cares for native Florida animals with the goal of supporting these critically endangered populations. Their animal residents – Florida grasshopper sparrows, frosted flatwood salamanders and Perdido Key beach mice – live behind the scenes at our Zoo. The number of animals this team cares for varies throughout the year as different breeding seasons take place. This team of three has worked with more than 100 animals at once!

“Our jobs revolve around giving the animals the richest environments possible – specific plants and an abundance of live bugs to eat – and interacting with them as little as possible, so that they can be the wildest versions of themselves,” said Kelly Currier, the Zoo’s Conservation Coordinator.

This tiny team brings diverse and different backgrounds to our Zoo, from years of marine mammal and rescue experience to finding and protecting bird nests in the field.

Thanks to this team, our Zoo has been able to send 59 Florida grasshopper sparrows back to their native habitat. We also have a population of beach mice as a safeguard against any in their natural range, and we’re raising frosted flatwood salamanders in the hopes of establishing a successful breeding program for this species. This team will also manage our future manatee rescue and rehabilitation facility, scheduled to be ready by the end of the year.

Kelly is most proud of their teamwork. There’s a lot of daily care as well as coordination with field sites and planning for the future!

It can be challenging to work in animal rescue and rehabilitation as well as participating in species survival projects, Kelly said. Not every plan works out and not every animal survives – but it’s something that they have to come to terms within this work.

“It’s worth it to fight for each species, because we’re fighting for biodiversity!” Kelly said. “There are many partners that one has to work with for projects like ours and there’s a ton of red tape to get through, but it takes tenacity and fighting relentlessly against the obstacles. The challenges are worth the reward.”


Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.