Welcome to the first addition of our new blog series, Keeper Feature! In honour of the launch of our exciting new Keeper Talks, a daily interactive learning experience at the zoo, each month we will be shining the spotlight on the amazing Keepers that take care of our animals, giving you a little more insight into what happens in the life of the zoo.

Keeper Talks are a unique and interactive way for guests to get a behind the scenes look with our animals. To ensure there is something to interest every guest, Keeper Talks will focus on 15 animals out of our 140 different species, large and small. Keeper Talks also spotlights a day in the life of the dedicated Keepers and their loving care for our animals. With a slight change to the previous schedule, the popular felines show is now at 10 am. Here is a full list of Keeper Talks: https://gvzoo.com/experience/keeper-talks/

In this month’s Keeper talks series we are featuring Rita Finlay, our section head for the Carnivore and North American sections at the Zoo. Rita speaks daily at the keeper talks – and we interviewed her to give you the inside scoop. Check out her answers below to learn about her favourite activities at the zoo:

Q: What is your full name, and title at the Zoo?

A: My name is Rita Finlay and I am the Section Head for the Carnivore and North American Sections at the Greater Vancouver Zoo

Q: How long have you worked at the Greater Vancouver Zoo?

A: I have been here at the zoo just over 7 years

Q: What do you enjoy most about being a Zookeeper?

A: Exploring each animal’s individual personalities

Q: What is the most memorable work day since you’ve been a Keeper at the zoo?

A: I have several days that stand out but the most memorable are birthday celebrations!

Q: What does a typical day look like in your role?

A: I start my day off greeting the other keepers and then greeting all the amazing animals. Followed by interacting with the public and maintaining all the areas that I am responsible for. A portion of my day always includes enrichment for the animals

Q: Who is your favourite animal at the zoo and why?

A: Impossible to pick a favourite, I love them all the same amount

Q: You’re the Zookeeper for carnivorous animals, what encouraged you to want to work with this particular group of animals?

A: Carnivore animals require a lot of training to work around them safely and I enjoy the challenges training presents

Q: What’s your favourite saying/phrase or quote?

A: “Awesome Possum”

Q: A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

A: “Summer vacationing at the Greater Vancouver Zoo is FINtastic” Came all the way from Antarctica to visit

Q: If you could be any animal in the world, what would you be and why?

A: Eagle: the ability to soar and [they] are loyal to each other. [Plus the] Eagle eye view.

If you want to learn more about Rita and the animals she cares for – check out her daily talks at the Greater Vancouver Zoo. Stay tuned to our social feeds as we feature our different keepers and learn what it takes to care for our animals – our next Keeper Feature will be coming July 13th!