It’s January and we’re starting the new year with a new keeper feature! Our keeper feature blog series shares the behind the scenes experience of our zoo keepers and all the hard work they do with our amazing animals.

This month’s keeper feature is Animal Keeper, Sara McDonald. Sarah is one of our newer family members but she fits right in. Sara appreciates how unique and incredible each animal is, and loves creating a bond while learning to understand them as individuals. While she possesses a lot of love for all animals, she’s got a soft spot for big cats. We feel fortunate to have had her join our family, and we know she will continue improving the lives of animals. Read more about Sara’s work with the GVZoo down below.

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

Sara McDonald, Animal Keeper

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

It's been about a year and a half now.

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

I love getting to appreciate first hand how incredible every animal is in their own way, including getting to understand them as individuals.

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

There are many challenges to overcome in this line of work and they are always changing. So each day is one to remember and learn from. However, my most memorable days are whenever I'm working with animals directly, creating that unique keeper bond.

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

I prep for the day, health-check my route, clean, feed, enrich and sometimes train. Sounds a lot nicer than I give them things to do and clean a lot of poop!

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

That is a hard question to answer, as every animal has captured my heart in some way. I work the most with the carnivores and have always been a cat lover so I may have some preference with my big cats. That being said my biggest soft-spots are Arun (Red Panda), Duma (Cheetah) and Mac (lemur).

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

I learned at an early age that many top predators who are very important for the health of an ecosystem, struggle against habitat loss and poaching. Top predators are most often carnivorous, so it became my passion to work with these animals and possibly do more in terms of conservation efforts in my future.

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

Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.
- Ryunosuke Satoro

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

He'll waddle up in an adorable manner. Stopping at our feet, the force of its sudden halt causes the sombrero to fall over one eye. It'll look up at us and open its mouth. We're keepers, we must have food for him.

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

I would be a cat. Then I could sleep most of the day and look adorable all the time!