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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Jumbo Job

Aired September 1, 2003 - 19:58   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Consider the case of Heather Baskett. Every day, including today, she goes to work and does literally what plenty of other people get paid a lot more for doing metaphorically. You'll see what I mean in a moment thanks to CNN's Bruce Burkhardt.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HEATHER BASKET: Kelly, salute. Salute!

BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Labor Day, a perfect day to relax and take in a trip to the zoo, unless of course you work at the zoo.

BASKET: Come here, girls. Line up.

BURKHARDT: Heather Baskett is taking care of her girls here at the Atlanta Zoo. And holiday or no holiday, she wouldn't have it any other way.

BASKETT: It's not that bad. It's exercise.

BURKHARDT: Even though this is how she spends a fair part of her day. How much is here? How much do they do?

BASKETT: Between all three of them, they eat 600 pounds a day. I'm going to say close to 600 pounds a day comes out.

BURKHARDT: You know, in a way, this is very similar to my job.

As elephant keeper, Heather's duties include preparing the food for her three elephants, then feeding them, training them.

BASKETT: Dottie, no. Trunk down. Good girl.

BURKHARDT: And a lot of time cleaning up after them. Inside the barn and then herding them back indoors so she and some helpers can clean up on the outside.

BASKETT: Smells good. What are you talking about? Here you good. Bring a shovel over.

BURKHARDT: There are people who make a lot more money, but they probably don't like coming to work each day as much as Heather does.

BASKETT: I don't mind working on holidays. It's fun. Besides, if they're happy, then that makes me happy.

BURKHARDT: So in the end, it doesn't matter so much what you're shoveling. It's how you shovel it. This makes me think it would be easier to take care of the small rodents.

Bruce Burkhardt, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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