The Keepers and the Kept is a zoological memoir. It is a light-hearted and fun account of the life of a zoo, particularly Sydneys Taronga Zoo, from a zookeepers perspective.
It tells of the interesting human characters, gives insight into the running of a zoo and of course humorous and heart-warming animal stories. There are tales of eccentric collectors who founded the zoo, other keepers, their feuds, practical jokes and political machinations. Terry Boylan describes unusual events such as animal escapes, from Taipan snakes to rampaging elephants, and the hazards (including death) befalling some zookeepers. He covers the bizarre behaviour of visitors to the zoo and even animal collecting expeditions to foreign countries. Through his anecdotes he reveals how modern zoos have developed into the professional organisations they are today.