West Edmonton zookeeper gets up close and personal with animals

By Christina Zoernig

EDMONTON — A day in the life of a zookeeper is always full of surprises, especially when things get a little hairy.

For Greg Lalonde, the term “hands on” takes on a whole new meaning when he pulls on his rubber boots at the start of his shift at the Valley Zoo  at 13315 Buena Vista Rd. in Edmonton’s Rio Terrace neighbourhood. Day in the Life - Zookeeper

“We’re not just here for people to see animals,” said Lalonde.

The zoo is in the process of expanding and modernizing, having opened its Arctic Shores exhibit on March 17, for example. The staff have a lot of work to do, with over 350 animals to care for, and the responsibility to provide a learning experience for visitors.

Here’s a look behind the scenes as Lalonde shares what it takes to make a zoo run smoothly from a keeper’s view.

This is one moment in the Day in the Life of West Edmonton, a West Edmonton Local project conducted on March 12, 2012.