Did you know that a blue whale’s tongue weighs as much as an elephant? Or that a platypus has no stomach? If not, you need to subscribe to Jordan Veasley’s YouTube channel, Jungle Jordan. Jordan is making it his mission to teach people all about his biggest passion: animals.
What makes Jordan such an expert? Well, he’s not just a YouTuber—he’s also a zookeeper! We talked to Jordan about how he got his dream job.
Did you always love animals?
Yes! When I was a kid, there were two bald eagles that would nest in our backyard. I grew up observing animals whenever I could, even the bugs in our garden.
Why did you decide to be a zookeeper?
When I was a kid, I had an anger problem. I got into fights and even got kicked out of school. Then I started volunteering at Woodland Park Zoo. Working with the animals made me feel safe and happy. I knew right then that I wanted to be a zookeeper.
What is a typical day like for you?
People are surprised when I tell them that most of my job is cleaning. It’s not just cuddling animals like everyone thinks—there’s a lot of poop to deal with! I also feed and train the animals, and I educate visitors.
What traits does a zookeeper need?
Patience. Sometimes you have to wait for an animal to do something, like come inside. You can’t force them. Big cats are just like house cats: They don’t listen to you! You also have to be calm. Animals can tell when you’re stressed or angry, and it affects them.
Why did you start using YouTube?
When I was growing up, I didn’t see any zookeepers who looked like me. As a black zookeeper, it’s important for me to put myself out there. I want kids of all races to see me and know that they can do what I do. Plus, I just love teaching people about animals!
What’s something you wish people knew about animals?
They won’t be here forever if we continue to treat Earth badly. We’re sharing this planet with many other animals. We have to speak up for them because they can’t speak for themselves.