Meet the keepers from episode 1 of London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year

by ZSL on

In Episode 1 of London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year, we introduced you to some of our biggest characters -  our amazing staff!

Being a zookeeper is an extraordinary commitment – and takes dedication and passion which we’re certain you’ll agree, each of these guys absolutely have.

Wearing their hearts on their sleeve for this fly-on-the-wall look at our Zoos during lockdown, read on to meet the team from tonight’s episode

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Missed all the action? Catch Episode 1 on ITV Hub. Tune in for episode 2 on ITV, Thursday 1 October at 9pm.

Alex Pinnell

Many of you will know Alex from her lively Facebook Lives during lockdown – raising desperately needed funds while our Zoos were closed to the public. Passionate about conservation and working with sea lions for over 18 years at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, on the documentary, she told us, “I like the fact though we can share with the public that these are not just animals they are a part of who we are, and how much they mean to us.”. Don’t miss more from Alex in episode 2.

Zookeeper leaning over bannister with sealions behind her
Dave Clarke

One of our longest-standing keepers, Dave has worked at ZSL London Zoo for a whopping 36 years. Responsible for our invertebrates and aquatic species, during lockdown he unsurprisingly found it “odd being away from Zoo for so long”.

Zookeeper at London Zoo holds large green stick insect
Jamie Mitchell

Working closely with Dave, Jamie spends most of his time with – you guessed it – SPIDERS! Hold the shuddering though folks, as he’s also on a personal mission to dispel unfounded myths and fears of our eight-legged-friends in London Zoo’s Friendly Spider Programme. “We help people overcome their fear of spiders. It’s brilliant”, he told us.

Zookeeper at London Zoo holds a tarantula in his hands


Kathryn Sanders

We can’t blame you for being a little jealous of Head of Predators Kate who has spent 14 years at London Zoo working with some of our most iconic [and adorable] mammals. Spending her working days taking care of  our Asiatic lions, Sumatran tiger and meerkats – Kate also oversees our Asian short-clawed otter care, which has recently involved two new [and very squeaky] arrivals!

female zookeeper crouches next to a lioness
Tara Humphrey

Working alongside Kate, Big Cat Keeper Tara loves working at London Zoo, telling us: “The best bit about my job is simply getting to work with these amazing animals. They all have their own unique qualities and personalities – each day is different depending on their moods, and they’re all very intelligent and like to keep us on our toes!”.

blonde female zookeeper
Nic Masters

Leading our dedicated team of vets for both Zoos, Nic is our Assistant Director of Wildlife Health Services. Beyond our Zoo's gates, Nic has health of species worldwide at front of his mind with each and everything he does, telling us, “Working hands-on with our wild animals is very special, but I’m also passionate about turning science into practise, and developing the field of zoological medicine.”

zookeeper stands smiling in front of flamingos at London Zoo
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