Meet Simone Popp, Zoo Keeper

A typical day in the life of Zoo Keeper Simone

Simone's day starts with her feeding and preparing the monkey and koala exhibits. Everyone is health checked, the koalas get new eucalyptus leaf branches, exhibits are raked, enrichment is given and it's a good time for a koala cuddle or two!

Most days Simone will do a koala animal encounter where the public get up close and personal with our koalas and are given a koala keeper presentation. (This is one of our most popular personal animal encounters and can be booked online at

You'll hear about the plight of koalas, especially after the devastating effects of the recent bushfires and how you can help via our Adopt a Koala program.

Next Simone heads out to cut fresh eucalyptus branches for all 16 adult koalas plus the four joeys (you can catch a glimpse of them in their enclosure when they aren't in their mums' pouches and watch them for hours). Koalas need half a kilo to a kilo of fresh eucalyptus leaves every day - it's a big job!

Simone loves the koalas and their unique personalities. In particular, Peta is one of her favourites, an absolute sweetheart who loves to have cuddles and has the cutest face.

As well as looking after our koalas, Simone's work varies throughout the day; walking our dingos, training spider monkeys, feeding the red pandas, gardening or maintaining exhibits.

Want to become a Zoo Keeper?

Simone studied a Bachelor of Agriculture Science and did her honours in livestock management, however, most people do a TAFE course in captive animal studies. Zoo keeping is an incredibly rewarding job but it's a tough job. Not for you? That's okay, come and enjoy a fantastic day out or better still, buy yourself an annual pass to Billabong Zoo and enjoy our animals whenever you like, without having to lift a finger. If you want a more memorable experience then book your personal animal encounter online.