Meet Our Team 11/08/2016

Barbara

How long have you worked here? I have worked in the zoo since 2007.

What animals do you work with? I’m part of the rhino team, so look after eastern black rhino, eastern bongo, Grevy zebra, lowland anoa and Kirk's dik dik, but we hold a lot of other animals on the section including greater one-horned rhino, Malayan tapir, warthogs, lesser kudu, roan antelope, sitatunga, Javan Banteng, capybara and many more.

Tell us an interesting facts about you: I have always had animals, I grew up with horses, rabbits, chickens, geese and had a pet goat called Tilde and do currently have a cat, dog and a highland pony.

Barbara Dreyer at Chester Zoo

Why did you become a keeper? I became a keeper by accident, I received a letter saying I was accepted in to zookeeping course in Denmark, but I didn’t apply, so was a bit random. I went to the induction day and loved it so stayed.

I then received a month placement at Chester zoo on the Giraffe section, everyone kept telling me I would never get a job as a keeper- too much competition, so I thought “I’ll prove you wrong”, I worked hard and it paid off.

Now that I am a full time keeper I do it because it’s the best feeling in the world making sure your animals are well looked after and the smile they bring to you just by being around them. .

What’s your favourite animal and why? I have lots of favourites, I know we aren’t meant to so don’t tell the others. I love the black rhinos, they are great characters and as a species are really fascinating to work with. I love my Grevy zebras, they are so funny and make me laugh daily. 

I love the eastern bongos as they are so different to all the other antelopes and some of them are right cheeky cows.

What’s the best part of your job? Everything. That's super cheesy, but I wouldn’t swap it for anything. .

Barbara Dreyer at Chester Zoo

What’s the worst part of your job? I must admit cleaning the frozen drains in December aren’t my favourite thing BUT it is VERY satisfying when you get them working again.

What’s been your most memorable moment in your career to date? The birth of our black rhino calf was incredible, the first time I saw a rhino up close was AMAZING. The first time I hand fed a very large bull giraffe, helping with hand rearing the Rothschild giraffe calf Margaret was one of the best experiences EVER, but there are so many I could go on and on.

What’s so special about Chester Zoo? Chester Zoo is a place like no other, we aren’t just colleagues we become friends and family. We are a community with people from all over the world and we end up spending Christmas and new year together as some of us have to work so can’t go home to our families so we make our own.

Have you visited any of our conservation projects abroad? If so which ones and what did you do? Unfortunately I haven’t been to any of our conservation projects abroad yet.