The Gorillas and the ElephantsTime at Zoo
How did you become a zookeeper?
By gaining lots of hands on experience, studying hard in school and college, and never accepting ‘no jobs’ as an answer from Dublin Zoo! (I have 5 rejection letters from Dublin Zoo from 1992 to 1996! Never give up!) In 2001 I became a permanent employee. I have worked in the zoo since then, apart from 2006, when I had a year off to travel the world. I work in the West section of the Zoo.
What kind of animals do you take care of?
At the moment I am looking after the elephants.
Which are your favourite animals in the Zoo?
The gorillas and the elephants.
Do you have any pets at home?
I have two tropical fish aquariums, and am currently setting up a coldwater aquarium! I would love more pets, but living in an apartment doesn’t allow for that!
What is your most memorable moment in Dublin Zoo?
My most memorable moment is the day I started working with the gorillas. I wanted to work with gorillas since I was 10, so it was amazing to finally reach that goal after 15 years! Getting to know the gorillas is a real honour!
What do you love most about your job?
I love the regular contact with animals. Being around animals is very important to me, I think they are wonderful, we could learn a lot from them! I also enjoy the daily tasks of my job; preparing food, cleaning and thinking of enrichment ideas is always good!
What’s the most difficult thing about your work?
Some aspects of the job can really affect your mood. The saddest moment I’ve ever experienced was when an Orang-Utan I looked after died. She was old, but it was still tough to deal with. However it’s important to get over these things quickly, inevitably, animals will eventually die, so we need to accept that and take the rare sad moments with the many happy moments!
When you’re not working in the zoo, what other hobbies or interests do you have?
I enjoy being outdoors and regularly hike in Wicklow, and surf on the west coast of Ireland. I also enjoy photography and now have over 50 photo albums! I’ve had two exhibitions in recent times, I enjoy hearing people’s opinions! Spending time with friends and family is always nice!