Julia Wilkie

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Julia recalls her parents encouraging her to be curious about all living things. As a kid, she made friends with spiders and caught tadpoles with her sister at the pond near her family’s cottage. Growing up, Julia volunteered at pet rescues and rode horses, later making a trip overseas to volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation center in South Africa. Julia knew she belonged among like-minded people who were as passionate and enthusiastic about caring for wildlife and our planet as she was.

While studying biology and psychology at the University of Manitoba, she got a summer job in the gift shop at Assiniboine Park Zoo, where she enjoyed observing animals and chatting with visitors about their day. She fell in love with the facility and its commitment to wildlife conservation, finding great joy in providing interpretive services to guests of all ages. For the next eight years, she was employed in an animal care role in the zoo's boreal forest section, where she worked with gray wolves, cougars, musk ox and more than 20 other species found in northern North America. Facilitating educational experiences through animal training and feeding demonstrations, Julia kept the message of conservation and compassion for wildlife at the forefront.

In 2020, Julia was offered a guide position at an Asian elephant rescue in Thailand. Her favorite part of every tour was seeing the joy on travelers’ faces when they first laid eyes on an elephant in the rain forest up close. From then on, she knew she wanted to help facilitate extraordinary wildlife experiences for the rest of her life. Back home in Canada, Julia is excited to be a Nat Hab Expedition Leader in Churchill for the fall polar bear season, and in Quebec to scout for whales, where her bilingualism should come in handy! She spends her free time riding her bike, attending local musical performances and festivals, and dreaming of her next adventure abroad.
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