PENG Peila

Koala keeper

About This Project

Between 1987-89, my father was an international student majoring in Asian Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra. There he met my mother and they returned to Beijing to have me. So I suppose you can consider me “Made in Canberra” – they even named me Peila, after Canberra’s Chinese name.


Since childhood, I’ve always had an affinity for animals that is difficult to explain, and it was my dream to work with them. After graduating with a Masters in Veterinary Studies, my first job was as a keeper at Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou, responsible for looking after Australian koalas! It was the hand of fate and an unparalleled honour, and I quickly fell in love with these unique creatures. Their simple, happy life makes me constantly reflect on the true meaning of humans’ co-existence with nature.


In February this year, I visited the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast for training. Although this was the first time I truly stepped foot on Australian soil, it gave me a feeling of being reunited after a long period of separation. We went to watch a performance, and a particular song brought tears to my eyes: the song was called I Still Call Australia Home.


In Australia, I experienced an atmosphere in which people and animals live together in greater harmony. It has inspired me to continue my own humble efforts for the future of wildlife.


Peng Peila is a keeper at Chimelong Safari Park, Guangzhou.

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