While living on Jersey I was working full time in the Durrell Wildlife Park (Now Jersey Zoo). Work had plenty of ups and downs…and flamingos. Working at with the amazing creatures in the park does have its perks, especially when it’s a nice day so I thought I’d share a little of what my work day looked like as a student keeper in a zoo. Come meet my feathered friends…
While life on Jersey hadn’t been all easy going I definitely made friends at work….largely of the animal variety.
Primarily working in the bird department of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, I spent my with some colourful characters.
Of course zoo life isn’t all fun and games. In fact, if you’ve every worked with animals you know it’s not all cute and cuddles but more cleaning and feeding about 90% of the time. But every creature in this world has it’s own personality and that includes our featured friends. My time working at the Durrell Wildlife Park certainly cemented that with some grumpy little characters but also thankfully some very lovable ones too.
The key aim of any good zoo or animal park should not be to entertain but to educate and success not measured on profits make but conservation actions taken. Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is very much focused on conservation efforts and many of the species on site are not necessarily the most appealing or ones that draw the most crowds but they are those most in need of protection. Many individuals here are part of breeding programmes to same endangered populations and a few are examples of amazing success stories where species were brought back from the verge of extinction!
One of my favourite tasks of the day is feeding the flamingos at the zoo, and boy are they hungry creatures. During my time on Jersey I was lucky enough to help care for for a number of flamingo chicks as well which was not only a fantastic experience but a very hands on way of seeing conservation in action.
Some of the cheekiest creatures in the bird department at the Red-breasted geese and they are truly my favourite feathered friends from Jersey. While I’m sure they are only interested in my feed bucket these guys were my faithful side kicks are a feed other animals in their enclosure and cleaned out feeding ponds. Plus they make the most adorable squeaky toy noise and would follow me around as a giant flock.
Life working in a zoo is not an easy one. Animals need to be feed and cleaned out no matter the weather and Jersey winters can be rough. During my season on the island there were constant gales and torrential rainstorms, regular fog banks that would make work almost impossible and more hours in darkness than daylight. But all that said, in the sunshine, working outdoors in amazing and working with so many endangered species as well as educating visitors about them was an important experience for me and one that certainly added to my career path in conservation and environmental work.
Have you ever considered what it’s like to work at a zoo? Would you move abroad for a work placement in your sector? Let us know in the comments.