We’re excited to share our keeper feature for the month of April! Our keeper feature blog series involves an interview with one of our dedicated zoo keepers to showcase the hard work that they put in. We want to give you a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to be an animal keeper at the zoo.

This month we had a chance to learn more about Rylee Spivak, one of our animal care staff. Rylee has a positive energy about her and is a major advocate for wildlife conservation. Read below to learn more about Rylee and how she is helping to improve the lives of our animals!  

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

A: Rylee Spivak, Animal Care staff, primarily hoofstock species 

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

A: I have worked for the GVZoo for about a year and a half but was a previous volunteer. 

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

A: I love working with animals, every day is completely different and exciting. Knowing that I, and we as a facility are making a difference in wildlife conservation is the best feeling!

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

A: I have a couple memorable work days which include halter training a bull reindeer from scratch and Amber our Ankole cattle’s 13th birthday!

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

A: A typical day in the life starts with checking on everyone first thing in the morning, scooping A LOT of poop, occasional camel snuggle, more poop, and making sure everyone is happy and healthy.

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

A: That's a hard one! I love working with our camels and reindeer. Bridgett the female elk is pretty great too! But I would have to say Reindeer are my top favorite; they have massive individual personalities and are so much fun to work with. Like giant cow puppies! 

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

A: "No worries!" I tend to say that a lot and don’t even realize it. Hakuna Matata!

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

A: He walks through the double swing doors of an old western saloon, flippers on his hips and asks for... A BRRRITO! 

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

A: I would be my dog (Ruckus) because he literally is so spoiled and has the best life. He sleeps when he wants and goes for hikes with his friends!