By Derek Rogers
In the late 70's, through to the late 80's I was an engineer working for a Chester company who serviced and repaired the cash registers at Chester Zoo.
We always had to report to the "Cash Office" where a real gentleman by the name of Arnold (I believe his second name was Johnson but I could be mistaken) who was responsible for security, would escort us to the appropriate area/areas of the zoo where the service/repair of the relevant cash register was required. (On one occasion a piece of old ink ribbon stuck under my shoe and I proceeded to mark the spotless restaurant floor in blue spots. Arnold would remember it well, particularly me on my hands and knees for an hour later trying to remove the stains from the floor.)
Once the job was complete we would again report to the Cash Office before leaving.
During that decade there was quite a groundswell of opinion against wild animals in captivity and as an an animal lover myself, I had a certain degree of sympathy with that viewpoint.
However, on one particular occasion, having completed a routine cash register service, I returned with Arnold to the Cash Office and to my amazement, one of the secretaries/receptionists in the cash office was caring for a small, sick bird in a box on her desk, periodically feeding the bird with a medicine from a dropper whilst continuing with her clerical duties. I commented to Arnold how nice that was to see and he remarked that "We all care for the animals here. Their welfare is more important than all the money in the cash registers."
Whilst my opinion that all wild animals should be free had not changed, one thing was certain. Everyone, from the top directors to the keepers and even the admin staff at Chester Zoo were dedicated and devoted to the well being of the animals in their care. I know this continues to this day.
Happy 80th, Chester Zoo, probably the most "caring" zoo in the world.
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