Meet Our Team 11/08/2016

Hayley

How long have you worked here? 3 years.

What animals do you work with? Rodrigues and Seba’s fruit bats, Visayan warty pigs, red pandas, giant anteaters, dwarf mongoose, sengi, Turkish spiny mice, naked mole rats, cloud rats, Linne’s two-toed sloths, tree shrews, meerkats, porcupines, rock hyrax, aardvarks and balabak mouse deer..

Tell us an interesting facts about you: I spent time growing up in Hong Kong where I was exposed to exotic animals from a young age. My parents are really keen animal people too so we always had pets of some sort, from tarantulas, to water dragons to the more common cats and dogs. It was fairly inevitable that I would grow up to work with animals!

Hayley Grey - Chester Zoo

Why did you become a keeper? I became a keeper because I am passionate about animal welfare and fascinated by animal behaviour, I have been surrounded by animals from the day I was born and wanted to learn as much as I could. I believe in the importance of breeding programs to help conserve some of the world’s most endangered species and want to help keep the balance of our world’s ecosystems, and preserve biodiversity for future generations.

What’s your favourite animal and why? I struggle to pick one specific favourite animal as I am lucky enough to work with a wide variety, on Twilight section my top three are the red pandas because they are stunningly beautiful and unique, the Rodrigues fruit bats because they are misunderstood and have so many cool adaptations and the Visayan warty pigs because they each have really distinct personalities and I love watching how they interact with each other.

My favourite animal in the world is the Sumatran tiger. I have loved them since I was a child. I love all tigers really as they are awe-inspiring and powerful but I think Sumatrans are the prettiest.

What’s the best part of your job? The best part of my job is when you can see that the animals in your care are happy and healthy, particularly when they give birth, you know that you are doing something right. It is even better when they are an especially rare species so will help with conservation efforts in the future. Watching animals interacting with a new enrichment item or just chilling out sunbathing is a lovely thing to see.

Hayley Grey - Chester Zoo

What’s the worst part of your job? The worst part of my job is when the animals get sick or die. Even with the best vet care available sometimes there is nothing to be done and that is heartbreaking, especially when you have a close bond with that animal.

What’s been your most memorable moment in your career to date? My most memorable moment was when we had to catch the Red panda cubs for their first vet check, it was great to see them that close at a young age as they don’t leave the nest box in the first 4 months or so and to see what the vets do.

What’s so special about Chester Zoo? Chester Zoo is special because of the dedication to conservation, animal welfare and education, and the fact that they are keen to further the keepers knowledge and experience through the Keeper For a Day programme and other workshops and conferences.