30 May 2018

Whether you are 19 or 90 there are lots of opportunities to get involved with volunteering at Chester Zoo.  Retirees who volunteer often report a renewed sense of purpose: ‘the zoo has given me a new focus in life and I must say that I am loving every minute of it!’  Read more of Yvan’s story below…

“Becoming a volunteer at Chester Zoo back in 2015 was one of the most wonderful things that happened to me recently and this is all thanks to my daughter who knew that I was looking for volunteer work when my previous volunteer work ending after 25 years.  So, I applied, got trained and the rest is history, as they say!

“As I am fully retired now, this volunteer work at the zoo has given me a new focus in life and I must say that I am loving every minute of it!  I joined the volunteer scheme at the very beginning in 2015.  The Islands were not finished then, so our training was not as thorough as it is now, but still, it was fun and I made some really good friends.

“The last three years have absolutely flown by.  I must admit that I had no idea how much one could learn about wild animals.  It is simply fascinating, and passing on that knowledge to our visitors is something I really enjoy.  It is such a pleasant feeling to see how the public appreciate it when we talk to them about the animals, what they are up to some time and, of course, whenever possible we tell our visitors about the vital role that Chester Zoo does for the preservation of wildlife all over the world.

“The TV series The Secret Life of the Zoo has had, in my opinion, a tremendous effect worldwide.  When I engage with visitors I invariably ask them if they had travelled far and quite often the distance people travel just to see the animals ‘in the flesh’ is quite amazing.  I have also come across visitors who came from as far as Australia, Asia, the US and Europe of course.  Yesterday I talked to a family from Sussex.  They set off at 4am just to see the baby orangutan!  Quite amazing!

“Our role is evolving all the time and we seem to be getting new locations too, in fact I am hoping that in the not too distant future we will be deployed throughout the whole zoo.  I can’t wait for my next shift!”