Keepers Diary - April
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 said farewell to Sparky and Xena, two of our lowland anoas.
Anoas are the smallest species in the buffalo family and a beautiful iridescent purple in colour.
Both Sparky and Xena were born at London Zoo and are the children of Tonia and Herbie our other two anoas.
This brother and sister team have moved to pastures new at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, our sister zoo, where they will live for the foreseeable future. However, as an endangered species there is every possibility that they will eventually be moved again in order to take part in an international breeding programme
Sparky can be a very cheeky boy who would sometimes charge at us when we were cleaning his paddock, as he was very protective of his heated shelter. This is something we had to watch out for as anoas have very large dagger like horns which could cause a lot of damage.
Xena would get a similar treatment whenever she tried to approach the shelter and he fancied some privacy.
Xena is a lovable, scatty girl who is a lot less trusting than Sparky and therefore, sometimes a bit jumpy, but if you sit with her for a little while she calms down, relaxes and is a lot more affectionate.
Both Sparky and Xena have their own individual personalities and will be missed by all keeping staff here at London.