Be it a cleanup of a zoo enclosure, or a medical checkup for the animals, zookeepers have to get close to the animals, looking at and touching things they would rather not. Rarely, a lonely animal might attempt to use the zookeeper as a substitute for a mate, which can be very discomfiting to say the least.
It could be animal feed, urine, diarrhea, placental matter, etc., which means that a strong stomach is essential in this profession. So, if a plate of food tastes like shit, you know that it probably is so.
You know that there are safety precautions in place, but every now and then your imagination can get the better of you. What was that!? Did someone leave the Bengal tiger's gate open?
While the life expectancy of animals in a zoo is much higher than wild ones, death is an inevitable part, despite all the efforts put in. The euthanization/death of one's charges is very painful, especially in case it's a young one, which takes days and sometimes months before things start feeling normal again.
Zookeepers struggle to work 24x7 for their animals; cleaning, feeding, bathing, medicating, etc. However, the animals never seem happy about the care. They seem to resent the presence of their keepers, due their wild nature. This, despite the fact that, the work of the zookeeper is essential for their well-being.
Visitors throwing stones, or giving lit cigarettes to the animals, is unfortunately common in zoos around the world. Such behavior can really make you see red. However, with time and persistent awareness programs, the general public is developing a favorable attitude, although there is still a long way to go.
Most people think that zookeepers are largely uneducated, when actually, almost all zookeepers have completed college, and may have a Bachelors or Master's degree related to biology or animal care. Due to this attitude of the public, one can often face unwarranted criticism about the way one takes care of the zoo inmates, which can get really irritating.