National Zoo Keeper Week 2018 – Meet Cissy Kou

It’s National Zoo Keeper Week and we’re sharing the love! To recognize the dedication and hard work of our amazing zoo keepers, we are posting an interview of a keeper each day this week. Meet Cissy Kou, a dedicated giant panda keeper whose early dreams of being a vet or a dolphin trainer lead her to caring for this iconic black-and-white species.

Meet the Zookeeper: Cissy Kou

Q: How did you become a zoo keeper?

A: “I always loved animals- first I wanted to become a vet, and a dolphin trainer… but I ended up being a panda keeper!”

Q: When did you start working as a zoo keeper for the Calgary Zoo?

A: “I started working for the Calgary Zoo in 2018 – right in time for the arrival of the four giant pandas.”

Q: What’s something that visitors might not know about zoo keeping?

A: “People think, okay, as a zoo keeper, you will get to cuddle the animals, and be with them for the eight hours of your day, but you don’t. You care for them and you do a lot of husbandry, like cleaning the habitats, and doing a lot of observation of the animals. We have surveillance cameras in all of the [panda] habitats.”

Q: What’s so great about working with giant pandas?

A: “I love working with pandas, as they are very lovable! They’re very cuddly, and they look cute when they play and when they run. That can also bring a very strong conservation message, and for giant pandas their conservation programs have been very successful. This is a very rewarding part of my job as well- knowing that what I’m caring for has meaning to the world.”

Thank you for joining us for National Zoo Keeper Week 2018! Check out our blog to see videos of a different zookeeper each day from July 15-21, 2018.

The support of our community makes possible our critical work protecting wildlife and wild places. Your trip to the Calgary Zoo helps us sustain wildlife and wild places. Visit today and learn more about the work of the Centre for Conservation Research at the Calgary Zoo.

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