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. Nicole is a self-proclaimed cat lady…. who now works with wolves!
Meet the Zookeeper: Nicole Bouwman
Q: How did you become a zoo keeper?
A: “I’ve always had a love for animals and for science. I did my Zoology degree at the University of Calgary and started volunteering in Animal Care at the Calgary Zoo, working closely with the keepers. I was lucky enough to get hired on as a zoo keeper in 2013!”
Q: When did you start working as a zoo keeper for the Calgary Zoo?
A: “I was a volunteer for quite a few years, but I got hired as an On-Call Zoo Keeper in 2013 and as a Full-Time Zoo Keeper in 2016.”
Q: What’s your favourite animal to work with?
A: “I have so many favourites that it is difficult to chose, but I have a very special place in my heart for the otters. They are the first animal that I really formed a connection with and I have watched Finnegan grow up from a pup, while Charlotte has been a fantastic mother to him. They are so smart and interactive, and it is amazing to watch their minds work. It also doesn’t hurt that they are absolutely adorable!”
Q: What’s a great zoo keeping story that you can share with us?
A: “My most vivid memory of being a zoo keeper was the flood in 2013. I had only been working for three weeks when the flood hit so I was very inexperienced, but it was amazing to watch the entire team pull together to keep the animals safe. We worked until the last second that we were allowed on the island but our group got the job done. Every single person was willing to do whatever they could for the animals and that was when I realized I was part of an incredible team!”
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.