"Yes – I fed a tiger!"
Saturday 8 August 2009
Keeper for a Day participant Anne Robinson takes us through the best present she's ever been given.
I was a Keeper at ZSL London Zoo!
My birthday present this year was one I’ll never forget. I’ve always been mad about animals, so being given a ‘Keeper for a Day’ experience was perfect, and I couldn’t wait to get down to ZSL London Zoo!
Our own zookeeper
On the day I was in a group of five people, looked after by our own zookeeper, Jane.
Everyone was really nice and Jane was brilliant – knowledgeable, interesting, and she made sure everyone got involved.
Meeting the animals
As for the animals, I got to play with meerkats, stroke sleepy aardvarks, feed spider monkeys, muck out zebras and dodge nosy penguins!
But my absolute favourite parts of the day were sharing a nuzzle on the chin with Crackers the giraffe, and feeding the tigers…
Yes – I fed a tiger! It was possibly the most amazing thing I’ve ever done, and I have to admit to having a little cry, I was completely overwhelmed, and I think that’s the thing that’s going to stay with me forever.
They are such magnificent animals – it’s heartbreaking that there are so few left in the wild, and so important that ZSL London Zoo is doing what it can to protect them.
Learning about zoos
I learned a lot about zoos on the day. Everything the keepers do is about the welfare of the animals: high quality food; training them to accept injections rather than being anaesthetised; enrichment techniques (like putting perfume in the hunting dogs’ enclosure to give them something interesting to sniff!); and, of course, the zoo’s wider conservation work.
I can’t wait to go back. And if anyone is unsure what to buy me for Christmas......!
Activities on the Keeper for a Day programme vary from day to day. Not all participants will experience the exact activities mentioned above.