Zoe Cooke: The Bear Keeper

15 December, 2021

Following a trip to Yellowstone National Park in the United States, Zoe Cooke became an advocate for a grizzly bear adoption program.

Having grown up in Yass, a small country town outside of Canberra, and regularly helping her family friends with tasks on their farm, Cooke had long been passionate about animals.

“When I read about the work the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Centre do, I was certain I wanted to be a part of it,” she says. “Their whole purpose is to take care of animals that can no longer be left in the wild whether it is due to contact with humans or injury.

The first bear Cooke adopted was named ‘Roosevelt’. Unfortunately, it was only two last two years as he got cancer and had to be euthanised.

“Thankfully, I’ve been able to continue my support of the Centre during the past three years by adopting his brother ‘Grant’.”

Cooke says the Centre’s work extends beyond bears and also cares for several wolf packs, otters, reptiles and birds.

Cooke’s passion for nature also has an outlet closer to home. For nearly five years she has done voluntary work at the Canberra Chapter of Sea Shepherd – a conservation not-for-profit.

“I have always loved connecting with Mother Nature which is why I volunteer for Sea Shepherd,” she says. “I love being able to help raise funds and awareness for such an important cause to protect our oceans.”

With the help of an ACA Education Grant, it’s a path she sees herself heading down post cricket.

“I am currently doing a Certificate III in Travel which the ACA has helped me fund. I have always loved travelling and photography and one day I would love to become a travel photographer especially showing the beauty of nature.”

Cooke’s life after cricket may also include coaching after a career-threatening injury presented an opportunity for work as a cricket coach through an internship organised through the ACA.

“I fell in love with coaching after being exposed to it through an ACA internship at Cricket ACT,” she says. “I was able to do the internship after having back surgery and not being able to train, but with the internship I was able to still be involved in cricket behind the scenes.”

For more information on ACA Education and Training Grants click here, speak with Player Development / Transition Manager, or with Elesha Te Paa at the ACA via email.

© Australian Cricket Players Limited
Photos courtesy of Getty Images
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