Meet Our Team 11/08/2016
How long have you worked here? 5 years.
What animals do you work with? Giraffes, okapi, babirusa, Asian small clawed otter, Malayan tapirs, Congo buffalo, red river hogs, southern pudu, red forest duiker, Persian onagers, Bactrian camels, Philippine spotted deer.
Tell us an interesting facts about you:
- I was very lucky to swim with whale sharks in Mozambique
- My grandparents brought me a sheep for my 13th birthday, she lived up in North Yorkshire on the farm. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to have her living in our back garden! :-(
- I have hand reared 4 baby hedgehogs
Why did you become a keeper? My grandad was a farmer so I grew up around sheep and cows, I also had loads of pets growing up so from an early age I was totally animal mad! As a child I always wanted to be a farmer but at the age of 16 I went to agricultural college and got a work placement at Dudley Zoo working with... giraffes!
I then went travelling to Australia for 6 months and worked voluntary at Australia Zoo, which confirmed to me I wanted to be a zookeeper. When I got back from Australia I was lucky enough to get a job at West Midlands Safari Park working on the hoof stock section (working with animals such as giraffes and white rhino). 7 years later I got my dream job, working with giraffes at Chester Zoo!
What’s your favourite animal and why? Most of the animals we work with aren't tame and we are hands off with them, however from time to time you may get your face licked by a giraffe, which is pretty cool! One of the few animals I work with which seems to enjoy human interaction is the babirusa, they get dry skin during the winter (they would normally mud wallow to keep they skin moisturised, but it's too cold during the winter months) so we apply aqueous moisturising cream to their skin, that’s defiantly one of my favourite jobs, as they love having a fuss.
What’s the best part of your job? I love my job, I'm so lucky that I look forward to coming to work each day, however if there was one thing I'm not that keen on it would be the rain, and it feels the last few months its rained every day! Never mind :-)
What’s been your most memorable moment in your career to date? Since I have worked here we have had 6 giraffe calves born. One very memorable time was when Zahra was born 2 days before Christmas (23/12/14) - that was a massive highlight, working with her on Christmas day was lovely.
What’s so special about Chester Zoo? Chester is such a fantastic zoo, its voted as the number one zoo in the UK. We have such a great variety of animals and numerous fantastic enclosures. Chester Zoo does so much great conservation work, in so many countries, for so many different threatened species, I'm very proud to work here.
Have you visited any of our conservation projects abroad ? If so which ones and what did you do? I haven't yet visited a conservation project, but I would LOVE TO! I have recently got back from Colorado Springs in the US, where I attended a giraffe care workshop, learning different management techniques and learning all about training giraffes especially their hoof care.