It’s National Zoo Keeper Week and we’re sharing the love! To recognize the dedication and hard work of our amazing zookeepers, we are posting an interview and video of a keeper each day this week. Today we’re chatting with Jennifer, who has a love of primates.

Meet the Zookeeper: Jennifer Long

Q: How did you become a zookeeper?

A:  “I became a zookeeper because I was interested in animal behavior. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Biology. I started working in Colorado at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo breeding black-footed ferrets back in 1999. ”

Meet the keeper: Jennifer Long.

Meet the keeper: Jennifer Long.

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

A:  “I started working at the Calgary Zoo in 2002.”

Q: What’s your favourite animal to work with?

A: “I would say my favourite animals are primates, specifically great apes and lemurs.”

Youngest gorillas Kimani holds onto mom Kioja as she moves around the habitat.

Q: What’s a great zookeeping story that you can share with us?

A: “Cool story- it was when I was working with Kakinga, our late silverback gorilla, and I was watching him protect Yewande (his newest daughter at the time). I was bottle feeding her and a stranger approached during a tour of the back area. He wasn’t comfortable with a stranger trying to feed her, so he picked her up and took her away!

I also loved how he tried to make friends with Kioja and Dossi when they first arrived at the Calgary Zoo; he would pass them treats through the mesh during introductions.”

Calgary Zoo’s late silverback Kakinga eating outside.

Thank you for joining us for National Zoo Keeper Week 2017! Check out our blog to see videos of a different zookeeper each day from July 16-22, 2017.

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