Keepers Diary - August
I am Oliver Duprey, a trainee keeper on the Mammals South section, a large and diverse department of the zoo that includes the big cats and bears, the primates and the Casson pavilion that houses bearded pigs, camels and pygmy hippos.
I graduated in zoology last year and following a period as a volunteer I was taken on as a keeper at London Zoo. I hope this diary will offer an insight into the life of a zoo keeper and explain the varied roles that this job entails.
This month we have stepped up our training programme for our young camel, Noemie, and seen one or two relocations.
Noemie is currently going through the teenage camel years and this is causing problems for keepers who do not often work with her.
For myself and other main camel keepers there has developed a certain level of respect between keeper and camel, but for those not so lucky to work with her on a regular basis she tends to play up.
The training involves Noemie, along with Nadia the adult female, being walked around the paddock three times daily to get her used to the other keepers. This means that if myself, or one of the other camel keepers, take a well-deserved holiday someone else will be able to work with the camels without any problems.
Plus we aim to have Noemie and Nadia walking around the zoo in a couple of months, which will give Noemie a chance to use up her youthful energy and also allow the visitors to meet this lovely species face to face!
Other news from Mammals South is the move of both the spider and Diana monkeys from the old monkey area up to the old leopard block.
Obviously making enclosures that were previously suitable for leopards, suitable for monkeys takes a little work and so I have been busy setting up loads of ropes for them to play around on. Using ropes is one of many skills that I have learnt at the zoo and you can be as creative as you wish once you know the basics.
Both groups of monkeys have now settled in nicely and to my delight have been using the ropes even more than I could ever have expected. It’s great when a plan comes together!!