This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating all the fantastic women who help us to prevent extinction, every single day!
We caught up with conservationists, designers, educators, researchers and communicators to celebrate some of their achievements as women working in conservation.
Celia Long, Retail Supervisor
I’ve had lots of jobs working here at the zoo, and also in London! I ran my own jewellery business for about 5 years before moving back to Chester where I gave birth to my daughter.
I began my career at the zoo 31 years ago, as a seasonal retail assistant. Since then I have been Retail Team Leader, Retail Buyer, and now Retail Supervisor, all whist being heavily involved with the staff association. I’m extremely proud to work at the zoo, and to have been part of the formation of our retail department, helping to prevent extinction.
Gabby Drake, Veterinary Officer
I qualified as a vet from the University of Liverpool in 2005 with a second degree in Conservation Medicine too. I’d always wanted to work with zoo animals, and in conservation so I set about getting the right experience to make me a suitable candidate for zoo residency programmes. I began here at Chester Zoo in 2011 before being offered a full time position as Veterinary Officer following on from that training.
I love working with all the species at the zoo, and have a particular interest in assisted reproductive technologies to support breeding programmes. You may have read about a recent project in ‘Z Mag’, where we used hormonal stimulation to breed blind Omani cave fish.
My greatest achievement since joining the zoo is being part of the team that saved Indali Hi Way when she developed elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV), thinking about it still brings a (happy) tear to my eye. It is a pleasure every time I go to elephant section and work with her, knowing that all of our hard work was worth it!
Lucy Templeton, Designer
At college I was passionate about science and wanted to become a veterinary nurse, but I was also very creative and did really well at art, as I took this as an extra subject at school. I studied Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent University where many of my projects were conservation based, I even based one on Chester Zoo!
I have had various graphics jobs but knew I would love an opportunity to work within conservation. I was overjoyed when I saw a vacancy for a design role at Chester Zoo and thought, what a fantastic opportunity. Working at the zoo, I’ve learned so much. There are so many ways to educate people about conservation around the globe which I never would have thought of before working here.
Amy Humphreys, Curatorial Assistant
I graduated from the University of Chester in 2009 with a degree in Animal Behaviour and Biology. After spending a few years working with domestic animals I decided I wanted to pursue my passion for conservation, and in September 2013 I began a year internship at Chester Zoo as the Curatorial Intern for mammals and birds.
Since then I have worked as a zoo keeper at both Flamingo Land Resort and Chester Zoo gaining knowledge in the husbandry, welfare and management of a variety of species from giraffes and rhinos to tapirs and babirusa.
I have also held the role of Quarantine Coordinator and Records Assistant as part of the veterinary and records teams at Chester. My current role is Curatorial Assistant for the mammal division, where I assist the mammal curators with a variety of operational and strategic activities including tasks to develop conservation, research and educational initiatives in the zoo.
A few years ago I attended the BIAZA working mammal group conference to compete for a conservation grant for the Javan Species Recovery Programme. I was representing the hoof stock focus group and delivered a 15 minute presentation on behalf of a colleague to try and win the grant for the project. Despite tough competition my pitch for the Javan species recovery programme won, I was really proud to have helped support this small but important project. The money helped to fund much needed technical equipment such as camera traps, allowing field surveys to be carried out for the endangered Javan warty pig.
Naiara Dunn, Assistant Team Manager – Conservation Education
Once I discovered zoology I was completely in love with the topic, and conservation lit a fire in my belly that drove me to want a career in this area.
However, at school I had no idea that this was a possible career path. Through my degree my eyes were opened to some amazing people preventing the extinction of species. Seeing women do these adventurous roles really inspired me to do the same. It was only later in my career that I realised the vital importance of ‘people’ when it comes to conservation, which is when I decided that conservation education was for me.
Holly Cushen, Zoo Ranger
It sounds very cheesy but a quote that I’ve always loved is from David Attenborough and it’s, “No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced”.
When I first started my career in conservation I was so fixated on working as a zoo keeper, but when I went to university the door was opened and I was introduced to all these other amazing areas in the zoo that I could work in. I realised the importance of education in conservation, and that quote reminds me that it’s myself and the team I work with that are responsible for making people aware of conservation, and therefore, encouraging people to prevent extinction. That quote is actually still on my desk to remind me not to give up!
WORK AT THE ZOO!
We’re on the lookout for incredible people to help us prevent extinction!
We have loads of jobs up for grabs in a variety of different roles from artists, to keepers and project managers.
Find out more about our WONDERFUL zoo and all of the incredible animals, plants and FUN things to do here. Download our app or PDF map to help plan you day and find your way around when you get here.