From a young age, my ambition was to work with rare and endangered animals. My role also includes educating the public through presentations, conducting behind the scenes tours, brief animal encounters and answering any questions visitors may have.
How did you become a zookeeper?
From a young age, my ambition was to work with rare and endangered animals.
I completed a Science Degree in Conservation and Park Management from the University of South Australia, and then began my zookeeping career. I began by working as a Koala Attendant at Cleland Wildlife Park, then in the Monarto Fauna Complex, before starting with the Adelaide Zoo in 2001.
Can you describe a typical day at work for you?
I work as a rover in the Carnivore Department, so I’m rostered to work with a number of different animals.
For every type of animal I need to: observe and monitor each animal, clean exhibits and off limits areas, prepare food, feed the animals, administer any medications, train the animals, provide enrichment, keep records and work with other members of my team to complete projects.
My role also includes educating the public through presentations, conducting behind the scenes tours, brief animal encounters and answering any questions visitors may have.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I enjoy educating visitors about the rare and endangered species, and seeing the enjoyment they get visiting the zoo and getting up close to some of these amazing animals. I also enjoy creating personal bonds with individual animals and providing them with the best conditions I can to live a happy and healthy life.
Do you work with the Adelaide Pandas?
Yes, I’ve worked with Wang Wang and Fu Ni since 2010. They are very unique and charismatic animals and I am still constantly learning new things about Giant Pandas. I’ve watched them mature over the past 5 years, and I hope that Adelaide Zoo will be successful in breeding the first Giant Panda in the Southern Hemisphere.
What’s your favorite animal?
It is hard to pick a favorite animal as they are all so unique and have such different personalities. I enjoy a morning greeting and scratch with our female Sumatran Tiger (Kemiri), the intelligence of our male Australian Sealion (Tasko) and the stealth of our female lions - who still have the ability to sneak up and give me a scare every now and then.
Why do you think being a Union Member is important?
If I have an individual grievance or group problem, I know that the Union can provide advice and help to resolve the issue.
The Adelaide Zoo is open 365 days a year, so we work a lot of weekends and public holidays.
Penalty rates one of the workplace conditions that United Voice negotiates as part of our Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.