Editor's note: This is the latest installment in a new mini-series on some of the most unusual and amazing jobs in the travel industry. Stacy Spurlock is the chief flamingo officer at Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas.
Prior to working at Baha Mar, I spent 28 years at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Florida, where I was an employee in the Zoo Department and developed a deep appreciation for the flamingo species while working in the animal nursery and personally hand-rearing flamingo chicks. I learned early on that flamingo chicks seek out attention and want to be close to all humans – enjoying their time in the spotlight. Realizing this, I began traveling around the United States with an ambassador “flock,” educating and inspiring people to become involved in animal conservation and protection by personally introducing them to Caribbean flamingos.
As Baha Mar’s chief flamingo officer, I oversee Baha Mar’s flock of Caribbean flamingos, the national bird of the Bahamas. We create fun and creative ways for guests to safely and personally interact with the birds, including our four hand-reared flamingo chicks raised right here at Baha Mar. Our team cares for all aspects of the flamingos’ lives – including providing the flamingos with the healthiest, safest home possible at Baha Mar’s BEACH sanctuary, made up of marine and avian habitats for species including stingrays, nurse sharks, sea turtles, tropical fish and birds, and of course – the flamingos!
While still working at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, many friends, including my husband, sent me Baha Mar’s viral posting for a chief flamingo officer. I loved the idea but did not think my family would want to relocate. Lo and behold – The Bahamas is a very enticing destination! When we visited Baha Mar, we knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Working at Baha Mar has been the dream job.
Having an impactful and direct role in educating guests and visitors about animal conservation and the preservation of native island species is a huge reason I do what I do. I love interacting with people and seeing kids’ faces light up when our flamingos walk around the Baha Mar pools, beaches and resort grounds. Downside of the job? There are no downs in the Bahamas and Baha Mar especially when working with such beautiful animals.