Keepers Diary - August 2008
Unfortunately this is the last zoo diary that I will be writing, or at least for a while. I am leaving the zoo to go and study veterinary medicine and so have to say a sad farewell to all the lovely animals I have worked with over the past five years.
I have met so many incredible animals with such wonderful personalities and had such fun developing some of the most amusing working relationships with them. I can’t mention them all because I have been fortunate enough to work with so many different animals on the Children’s Zoo, Mammals South and most recently Mammals North sections. I will however, discuss just a few of my favourites:
Colombo the sloth bear is one of the nicest natured animals I have ever met, always wanting to play and never aggressive, which cannot be said for his temperamental, but lovely, sister Ursula. Colombo was the success story of my hand injection training with the bears and I had hours of fun playing the chase the broom game with him.
Mamy the aye aye is a recent personal favourite and has gone from an animal I was originally very wary of, to one I now feel very comfortable around. It is an honour to work with aye ayes as they such strange and unique animals, and Mamy is very friendly and sweet.
Another favourite which I will have to group together as it is their group personality that I love, is the otters. I have never worked with such crazy animals! They are constantly all action, all squeaking and most of the time all play fighting! One of the cutest looking animals I have worked with, especially when you hose out their den and they all stick their fingers under the door to catch the spray.
Perry the llama from the Children’s Zoo is one of the most fun animals I have worked with, very cheeky and very, very bold. When I first met Perry he really tried it on, doing the exact opposite of what I asked him on our walks around the zoo.
However, after a few days he understands you’re no pushover and becomes the perfect gent of a llama. I’ve also seen him spit over the greatest number of people and he never did to me, so I have to take that as a big complement!
Learning how to walk Perry gave me a good grounding for the next special camelids I was to work with, the considerably larger and more demanding Bactrian camels! I cannot mention a single favourite individual as all three that I worked with were as wonderful as each other in their own way and inspired me to go on the adventure of a lifetime to the Gobi desert of Mongolia.
Nina was the most gentle of giants and despite being an old girl was always just as excited to get her breakfast, even if her speed didn’t match her enthusiasm. Nadia loves a scratch under the chin, any time, any day and has the most comical of facial expressions especially when she fully relaxes in the sun and her bottom lip goes all droopy.
Finally, Noemie will always be a special girl to me because I helped bring her off the truck when she arrived in 2004 and have been with her as she has grown into a beautiful adult. Also, she was never half as naughty with me as she was with other keepers and I have to thank her for that.
I hope the animals I cared for, and still do, don’t get ill but if they do, who knows it might be me providing the veterinary care for them in the future.
So that’s the end of my zoo diaries, but a keeper friend of mine, Adam from Mammals South, will be taking over in giving readers an insight into the wonderful animals here at ZSL London Zoo.