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 Talia.
Talia began working at the Edmonton Valley Zoo in 2014 in the Urban Farm while completing her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. While working at the Urban Farm she became a zookeeper assistant volunteer. In 2016 Talia was given the opportunity to be trained on zookeeping shifts while working seasonally at the Urban Farm and was then hired on as a zookeeper. Today, Talia primarily works with the hoofstock animals and seals.
Talia is passionate about her job and enjoys sharing her passion for animals and conservation. She values the opportunities she has to build relationships with animals, earn their trust, and train them. One of her favorite parts of animal training is watching them succeed in overcoming training hurdles. As an added bonus, she gets to spend a lot of her time outside!
However, being a zookeeper can be extremely challenging. Not only do they have to build a relationship with animals, but there is also a lot of dirty work like feeding and cleaning. Being a zookeeper requires a vast amount of knowledge in topics such as animal behavior, nutrition, welfare, and health. While building relationships with the animals is one of the highlights of the profession for Talia, caring so much for them can also make the job difficult; when they become ill or are moved to another facility or when they pass away it can be hard emotionally.
Talia is one of the zookeepers that hand-raised Ambrosia, a bactrian camel born at the zoo in 2021 after she was rejected by her mother. Ambrosia has since been reintegrated back into the camel herd but the unique relationship Ambrosia has with her human-mothers is one that Talia raves about. While the other camels are enjoying fresh grass in the pasture, Ambrosia prefers to come visit with her keepers. They have strong personalities and are extremely smart. During a trip to the zoo, you might notice the camels like to come right up to the fence to visit!
Happy National Zookeeper Week, Talia!