World Ranger Day: Zoo Rangers
Have you ever wondered what being a Ranger at the North Carolina Zoo is like? The Zoo's Rangers are responsible for the safety of the guests, directing guests around the zoo property, and helping to keep things running smoothly. That includes a lot of tasks during a "typical" day. Being a Ranger can be a very challenging but rewarding job, and we'll explore some of the reasons why.
We spent some time with the Rangers recently to learn what a "typical" day is like for them and what we quickly discovered is that there is no such thing as a typical day. Their responsibilities change depending on the time of the year, the number of guests at the Zoo, if there are special events at the Zoo, and even if it's a weekday or a weekend. The Ranger team is comprised of a combination of full-time and seasonal staff members, with the largest group being on staff during the Summer and other peak times such as spring break. Each day begins with a meeting in the Ranger office to review the day's events and then delegate assignments for the day.
Each day, Rangers are assigned a golf cart or mobile unit (an SUV) loaded with medical gear, jumpstart and lockout equipment. If a Ranger is in a vehicle, they will be responsible for parking issues, patrolling the parking lots, directing traffic, and helping with jumpstarts and lockouts. The Rangers are the primary responders for any medical problems because they have a complete medical set.
During the day, all full time and some part time the Rangers at the Zoo are EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians), enabling them to do primary first aid care, such as CPR, and use automated external defibrillators (AED). These machines are located throughout the park in public areas and carried in the Ranger vehicles. In addition, Rangers have medical equipment that can assist with severe allergic reactions, fatigue and exhaustion, low oxygen levels, low blood sugar, and can monitor blood pressure and other vital signs. At night, second and third shift Rangers secure and patrol the park, making sure the property and animals are safe after hours.
Rangers drive a variety of different types of vehicles throughout the Zoo to meet their transportation needs, including those for traffic cones!
In 2018, the Zoo formed a partnership with the Randolph County Sheriff's Department, providing Randolph County Deputies assigned to the Zoo daily.
Getting Around the Zoo
Rangers know every inch of the Zoo and the quickest way to get anywhere! They patrol the public areas as well as behind-the-scenes areas and worksites.
An essential part of knowing the property is when guests wander off the regular paths and/or get separated from their party. As the world's largest zoo, taking a right, which you should have taken a left on a pathway, can quickly get you lost! When this happens, the Rangers are dispatched to help find the guests, guide them back to where they're supposed to be, and reunite with their group.
Where Did I Leave That?
Another vital part of the Ranger's office is handling lost and found items. Any lost items are cataloged and placed into storage containers to wait for a hopeful return to their owners. If there aren't claimed after 30 days, some things are donated to the local Habitat for Humanity center. What are the most frequently "lost" items? Hats and other clothing items such as jackets, sweatshirts, and sweaters.
As you can see, the Zoo relies heavily on our Ranger team's skills and dedication, and we appreciate their work. The next time you visit, be sure to stop and chat with them for some great insight and stories about the Zoo!
Next time you see a Ranger at the Zoo, don't hesitate to say hello! They are at work rain, shine and snow!
The North Carolina Zoo's Rangers are EMTs that are the first-responders onsite for any medical calls.