“Zookeepers don’t just take care of the animals at our zoo . . .
“Zookeepers don’t just take care of the animals at our zoo . . . they actually have a bigger mission to work for the better of all the wild animals,” says Dave Johnson, who is both a zookeeper and children’s author. He works with the pachyderms at the Denver Zoo, and he has written two picture books about animals and the zoo. Occasionally, he has the opportunity to travel to Nepal with a group called Team Nepalorado.
One of these times, he had the opportunity to meet Narayani, an orphaned rhino who was destined to reside at Kathmandu zoo. Taken hold of by a menacing monsoon, she was washed ashore on the banks of the Narayani River. She was found by a caring person, who then took her to a veterinary hospital. Her health improved rapidly, and in 2011 (2010?) Team Nepalorado met her. In a way, they formed a bond in those first few months of Narayani’s being an orphan.
Dave wrote a book called Narayani: the Unicorn of Nepal based on her poignant story. In the story, Narayani is born in Chitwan Park, “a young princess to be.” The animals around her, including clouded leopards and elephants, do their best to prepare her for the future. In the summer season, Narayani is crossing a river when the storm overtakes her and thrashes her around in the water. She is washed onto the banks, and a man in a boat finds her. The book continues to unfold Narayani’s true and touching story. Dave has gone to Nepal several times, working at a vet hospital, buying anti-poaching motorbikes for the conservationists there, and even helping out at an orphanage. He hopes to, in the future, create a rhino orphanage to release rhinos back into the wild.
Dave Johnson is more than just a zookeeper. He cares about the future of all animals, captive or wild. He gives his best effort to help animals, so that in many years, future generations might still be able to see them.