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Justine Powell with one of the tiger cubs

Justine has been a keeper at Taronga for 17 years, working with a large variety of animals throughout that time. Initially she was based in the Australian mammals section, before working with primates including gorillas and chimpanzees, and finally ending up as Senior Keeper in Carnivores.

Before starting her career at Taronga, Justine gained as much experience working with animals as she could. She worked in a Horse stable and began volunteering at the Veterinary Centre, before getting her first job as a keeper at the Zoo.

One of the highlights of her career so far was hand-raising a number of animals including lion cubs, kangaroo and wallaby joeys, as well as Dhole pups. She also very much enjoys the training aspects of her job. Getting animals to present their claws for trimming, or allowing veterinarians to approach them for hand injections are some ways in which training can benefit the animals.

“The best parts of my job are the animals of course! It is not hard to come to work when you work with such amazing animals. I love the bond you develop with them and seeing all their different personalities.”