To celebrate National Zookeeper Week, we want to shine the spotlight on a few of the amazing and dedicated members of the Edmonton Valley Zoo’s animal care team! Thank you for all you do.
Today we’re introducing you to Trevor.
Trevor grew up on a small cattle farm in Ontario, so he was comfortable being around animals from an early age. In fact, he wrote in his Grade 1 journal: “I want to work on a farm with all my favourite animals and be a pro wrestler.”
He studied Animal Care at Sheridan College in Ontario, and followed that up with a stint at the Toronto Zoo. He came to the Edmonton Valley Zoo in 2008 where he has worked every shift from reptiles and raptors to carnivores, primates, the elephant, hoof stock and seals/sea lions. He says hoof stock is the most physically challenging, which is great for keeping him in shape! He is both personally and professionally invested in ensuring our animals thrive and enjoy high quality lives.
In Trevor’s view, interacting with the public is one of the most rewarding parts of the job. Nothing else quite compares to having a meaningful conversation with someone about an animal, creating an emotional connection, and linking that animal to a wild counterpart to inspire someone to make more conservation-focused decisions.
Some of the skills that Trevor has found invaluable in his career are observation, problem solving, patience, working as a team, and having a positive attitude.
“You have to be aware and in the moment whenever you are with an animal because they are always in the moment, they live in the now. When you work with animals and understand their natural behaviours you can anticipate what they might do in a certain situation. I am not afraid of any animal here but I respect their strength and size, I respect what makes them a wolf or a tiger,” he says. “This job is an ego killer. It’s not about you, it’s always about the animals.”
Relationship building with animals is one of the most rewarding parts of Trevor’s job, but it can also be one of the hardest. “Seeing an animal that I’ve worked with get sick or old, knowing that some of the animals I’ve worked with since they were very young are starting to age … one day I will have to say goodbye.”
Happy National Zookeeper Week, Trevor!