Garth de Jong
Too difficult to choose!Time at Zoo
3 and a half Years
How did you become a zookeeper?
I started in South Africa at ‘World of Birds’ as a general assistant in 1994. My responsibility was clearing pens and preparing food for their birds of prey.
How long have you been working in Dublin Zoo?
3 and a half years
What kind of animals do you take care of?
I take care of the reptile house and its varied inhabitants, from tarantulas to crocodiles, as well as the penguins, flamingos, ibis and various waterfowl on the zoo’s lower lakes. The Californian Sea-lions also fall under this section.
Which are your favourite animals in the Zoo?
It’s too difficult to choose. I am a reptile person by association, but the feathered and furred stock has grown dear to me.
Do you have any pets at home?
4 snakes at the moment.
Can you tell us one of your most exciting moments in the Zoo?
My most exciting moment so far has been the opportunity to work with a species as rare as our recently arrived Annam leaf turtles which are extinct in the wild.
What do you love most about your job?
Not being stuck in an office all day and being able to get paid for doing what I love.
What’s the most difficult thing about your work?
It’s always tough losing an animal, be it a sudden unexpected death or relocation away from the zoo. You invest so much time, care and love in to them it’s hard not to get attached.
When you’re not working in the zoo, what other hobbies or
interests do you have?
I love the outdoors and enjoy fishing, walking and have just started getting into golf. This year I plan to do some animal watching and photography on mainland Europe during my holidays.