The summer of 2014, we recognized National Zoo Keeper Week! To celebrate the dedication and hard work of our amazing zookeepers, we posted an interview of a keeper each day that week! We really love the story that Kristi shared with us.
Meet the Zookeeper: Kristi Schlaepfer
Q: How did you become a zookeeper?
A: “I took my Bachelor of Science in Biology at Simon Fraser University, with a focus on Ecology and Evolution. I also did a full semester of my schooling at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre on Vancouver Island. I worked for the Greater Vancouver Zoo, and then came here to the Calgary Zoo!”
Q: When did you start working for the Calgary Zoo?
A: “I became a zookeeper at our zoo three and a half years ago, in 2011.”
Q: What do you do on a given day at work?
A: “It really depends on the section; I can be doing anything from food prep, enrichment, shifting the animals from parts of their enclosure, cleaning, or just observing their behaviors. One of my personal favourites is the enrichment.”
Q: What’s your favourite animal to work with?
A: “The penguins! I even have a favourite penguin- a gentoo named Akio.”
Q: What’s a great zookeeping story that you can share with us?
A: “I love the way that kids are fascinated by what we do. We can really get them excited. One time a call came into the zoo from a parent of a kid who was not doing well in school, but loved penguins and had an interest in zookeeping. One of our keepers got on the phone with the girl and told her all about what it takes to become a zookeeper for a living. We later heard from her parents that she is really improving in school, which is amazing.”