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 Karyn.
Becoming a zookeeper was always the plan for Karyn. As a kid, she visited zoos and was continuously enchanted by the animals, so much so that working with them was always her dream. After starting out as an animal health technologist in veterinary clinics and then working in marine mammal rehabilitation at the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre in Vancouver, Karyn became a zookeeper 12 years ago. While making the transition into a zookeeping career, Karyn hadn’t had much experience in training and became enamored in building relationships and working towards new behaviors. Karyn’s background in medicine drew her to medical behaviour training, which includes such things as anesthetic mask training, blood collection, and teeth brushing.
Karyn says her opportunity of a lifetime was being able to work with one of her favorite species when she was part of a collaborative team involved in the rehabilitation of a very young harbor porpoise. She credits this experience as the most impactful to her professional career, as she watched the animal go from being extremely guarded and then continuously improving. Interactions with the animals and building trusting relationships are the highlights of her work life. Each and every animal at the zoo has its own individual personality, not unlike humans. They can be calm, excited, mischievous, and, in the case of the Canada lynx, sassy.
You can see Karyn working all over the zoo but she primarily works with the carnivores, the elephant, seals, and hoofstock animals.
Thank you, Karyn, for our contributions to our zoo. Happy National Zookeeper Week!