Here at Perth Zoo, being a zookeeper is more than just a job; it’s a calling.

It’s certainly not the most glamorous job, but ask any zookeeper and they’ll tell you that saving animals from extinction is the most rewarding vocation around.

Today on International Zookeeper Day, we’re saying thank you to all of the incredible keepers who dedicate their lives to caring for the animals who call Perth Zoo home and vulnerable wildlife beyond our gates.

Native Keeper Tammy Goad was given her first reptile and amphibian book when she was six years old and from that point on, she knew she was destined to work with animals.

“I just love animals and I love learning new things. This is where I wanted to be,” Tammy said.

Today, she’s part of the Native Species Breeding Program, working to safeguard some of WA’s most vulnerable native species, bringing them back from the brink of extinction.

“We’re always learning new things about these species that have never been studied or are critically endangered and hoping we can work out a way to breed them and get the numbers back up in the wild.”

The program has had enormous success this year, with a record number of Western Swamp Tortoises and White-bellied Frogs released into the wild.

Unlike Tammy, Senior Natives Keeper Silke Tyler grew up determined to be anything but a zoo keeper!

She was born and raised at a zoo in Germany, where her parents were keepers.

“I was actually six months old when the first orangutan was born in Stuttgart zoo and I was raised with them!” Silke said.

Determined to stay away from zoo life, Silke did an apprenticeship as a farmer, until eventually a zoo job came up that was too good to resist. More than 30 years later, she hasn’t looked back!

“I think you can say zoo keeping was in my blood,” Silke said. “It’s really nice to see the animals thriving and reacting to you.”  

The animals might not always be able to show their appreciation to their keepers, but we can.

Happy International Zookeeper Day and thank you to all the passionate and hardworking keepers at Perth Zoo!