I am a qualified zookeeper with a BSc in Zoology, an MSc in Zoo Conservation Biology and a Level 3 Diploma in the Management of Zoo and Aquarium Animals.
I have 10 years plus experience in the animal care and zoo industries. I am offering lessons in animal care, animal biology and wildlife conservation tutoring for students either at college studying animal care courses or for university students in related degrees. I can also tutor secondary school biology students. I can offer online tuition or I can travel in the Devon area on Fridays and Saturdays.
My lessons will focus not only on the curriculum and the assignment you are currently working on, but on the animal care industry in general and the wider picture of conservation and welfare. I am happy to share my expertise in caring for a wide range of animals (including carnivores and reptiles) and also my experience of zoo life.
I have worked in the animal care industry for 10 years. I started in a wildlife rescue center, rehabilitating native mammal and bird species. Then I moved on to a zoo caring for lots of different species including parrots, reptiles, farm animals and small mammals such as meerkats, coati and porcupines. After several years doing that I began working as a reptile, amphibian and invertebrate keeper at one of the best zoos in the country. I currently work as a carnivore keeper caring for wolves, lynx and other such species. I am new to tutoring but as a successful academic I believe I will be a great help to the successful completion of your animal care, conservation or animal biology course.
I am a zoology graduate from Imperial College, London with an MSc in Zoo Conservation Biology from the University of Plymouth, delivered in partnership with Paignton Zoo Environmental Park. I currently work as a carnivore keeper at Wildwood, Escot. I am a qualified zookeeper having completed my DMZAA course whilst working as a herp keeper at Paignton Zoo and have experience of delivering high standards of husbandry to a wide range of species, including Category 1 animals such as wolves and crocodiles. I have a wide and adaptable knowledge base, having worked also with small mammals, birds, amphibians and both aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. I have also worked as a conservation research assistant and I have experience of many aspects of the zoo industry. I also have practical skills for enclosure design and maintenance. I am able to deliver talks and presentations, to members of the public within the zoo setting and also to scientific meetings. I have a good understanding of the role of the modern zoo and zookeeper, both in terms of striving for evidence-based husbandry and the conservation issues facing many of our species in the wild. My special interests include how exhibit design and husbandry can affect the behaviour of zoo animals, especially those species that are endemic to very small areas, habitat specialists and those that come into the zoo setting from wild origins and animal training and cognition. I am also interested in how longitudinal physiological research, such as faecal analysis, can help us understand animal behaviour and provide an optimal environment in captivity. I understand zoo legislation and licensing, including applying for imports according to CITES regulations and following quarantine and transport regulations. I understand the roles, responsibilities and challenges of working within the zoo industry and I love my work. I am a confident user of ZIMS and Zootrition. I am passionate about conservation, animals and the environment and I aim to develop my career within an organisation that shares this passion.
• Experience in husbandry and management of wild, exotic and domestic animals including Category 1
• In depth knowledge of the conservation issues facing such species in the wild
• A good knowledge of native flora and fauna and the ability to identify in the field a range of plants, insects, mammals, and marine and freshwater organisms including those that are invasive or problem species
• Experience of ecological field studies, including sampling, trapping, vegetation classification and the use of a variety of surveying techniques such as transects artificial refuges and quadrats
• Experience in data analysis using the statistics program ‘R’
• Ability to conduct extensive literature reviews and compose clear and detailed reports
• Ability to design and implement conservation and education projects
• Knowledge of administering basic medical requirements to animals
• Experience in the training of different animal species
• Working knowledge of the Zootrition software
• Ability to design enrichment programs
• Working knowledge of the ZIMS software
• Good practical skills, including experience in carpentry and mechanics, power- and hand-tool use, tractor and trailer-driving and gardening
• An understanding of zoo-licensing legislation and the ability to carry out many aspects of the necessary paperwork (set up and run an ethics committee, carried out animal escape drills, can do risk assessments and write handling protocols, design enclosure interpretation etc)
• Experience of carrying out public talks, presentations and demonstrations
• Excellent team member
• Reliable, passionate, hardworking and dedicated
• Competent in using Microsoft Office (word, power-point, excel).
• Clean UK driving license
Diploma in the Management of Zoo and Aquarium Animals
I achieved an overall Merit and I studied modules including carnivores, reptiles and amphibians. My final project looked at the enclosure planting preferences for both captive-bred and wild-born Lygodactylus williamsi geckos, a Tanzanian endemic and a habitat specialist in the wild. I achieved a distinction for my project and I would like to write it up for publication.
Sep 2009-August 2010
University of Plymouth
MSc Zoo Conservation Biology
I studied modules including Animal Behaviour and Management, Animal Health and Welfare, Animal Nutrition and Animal Conservation (in situ and ex situ management, population genetics, field research techniques and conservation planning). My final research project focused on native UK reptiles and best practise surveying methods.
Oct 2005 – June 2008
Imperial College of Science and Technology, South Kensington, London
Modules: Evolution, Ecology, Animal physiology, Parasitology, Animal behaviour, Conservation, Cell biology, Molecular studies, Genetics, Statistics, Spanish, Research skills
Sep 2004 – Sep 2005
Birkbeck University, Russell Square, London
Certificate in Life Sciences and Subjects allied to Medicine
Distinction in both the chemistry and biology modules
Sep 2001-Sep 2002
Vauxhall College, London
GNVQ Level 1 Carpentry & Joinery
Sep 2002-Sep 2003
South Thames College, London
City & Guilds Level 1 Car Mechanics
Sep 1990 – Sep 1994
All Hallows RC High School, Preston, Lancashire
English/English Lit., Drama, Biology/Chemistry, History, RS all at grade A*
Physics, German grade A
Maths, IT grade B
Employment History/Work Experience
In addition to providing high standards of husbandry to a range of mammal species, we carry out a broad range of duties, including enclosure and diet design, writing quarantine and management protocols and managing ZIMS records and animal transportation documents. I work with Category 1 animals including a young wolf pack, lynx and wildcats. I do public talks about the animals on a daily basis and supervise volunteers. I am currently working on training the lynx for health inspection purposes and for easier management. This is going well and we know have them confidently hand-feeding. I am in the early stages of designing research into the lynx behaviour and how it links to faecal cortisol levels.
Feb 2013- July 2016
Paignton Zoo Environmental Park
Reptile and amphibian keeper, Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates department
I helped to care for a range of species including crocodilians, amphibians and invertebrate species. I also interacted with the public during feeding experiences and helped with student or volunteer placements. We practised positive reinforcement training with some of our animals, particularly the crocodiles and the giant tortoises. I am part of the BIAZA Reptile and Amphibian Working Group and I have given presentations on reptile and amphibian conservation at conferences, including the BIAZA annual research symposium for which I won an award. Before I left, I was particularly interested in studying the Critically Endangered gecko Lygodactylus williamsi and I was carrying out some husbandry research on the individuals in the collection. I presented my findings at RAWG 2016. My other projects included juvenile crocodile training and cognition, sailfin lizard training (with the aim of reducing fear response), Cuora galbinifron growth rates and breeding success at the zoo and a thermal imaging project to assess enclosure heating efficiency (the latter I had only just started working on when I left, I collected temperature data by attaching data loggers to the carapaces of the giant tortoises).
3rd January 2011-September 2013
Woodlands Leisure Park, Devon
I was responsible for the daily care and management of a variety of animal species. This included farm animals, horses and small mammals such as ring-tailed coatis, porcupines, meerkats, raccoons, dwarf mongoose, sugar gliders, Egyptian hedgehogs and bats. We also had a large reptile house which housed sulcata tortoises, dwarf caiman, chameleons, monitor lizards, pythons, boa constrictors and various other species. I also cared for invertebrate species, parrots and other birds, fish and hoofstock such as deer and llamas. My duties included animal record-keeping, enrichment programs, administering medication, foot-trimming, helping with castrations and other procedures, bottle-feeding orphaned animals, adjusting dietary and nutritional requirements, breeding management, animal training and public talks. I was also partly responsible for the maintenance and general design of enclosures, such as heating and lighting requirements in the reptile and nocturnal house and planting/environmental enrichment in outdoor enclosures and for jobs such as feed and supplies ordering. I wrote a 10-year Conservation and Education strategy to meet the park’s Zoo Licencing requirements and I also designed educational posters for the reptile house and worksheets for visitors.
Paignton Zoo Environmental Park
Amphibian Conservation Research Assistant
My job was to analyse field data that had been collected in Tanzania as part of the zoo’s involvement in an amphibian conservation project in the Eastern Arc Mountains. I identified amphibian species from photographs and morphological measurements take in the field and collated habitat data.
October 2009-June 2010
Volunteer animal keeper
My duties included all the normal husbandry jobs such as food preparation, cleaning enclosures and answering questions from the public. I gained experience in the husbandry of a variety of fish, birds and mammals and also gained practical experience of working within a coastal zoo/aquarium environment. I also carried out some voluntary work in the education department
May 2009 – September 2009
The Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust (based at Paignton Zoo)
Ecological Research Intern
As an ecology research intern, I worked as an assistant to the UK Conservation Officer during the key summer field work period researching native flora and fauna both on the nature reserves adjacent to the Zoo site in Paignton and on the nature reserve at Slapton Ley. My main project was a 6-month survey and analysis of native reptile species distribution and abundance within the zoo grounds and the environmental and habitat variables that predict their presence/absence. I also collected survey data for several native wild plant monitoring projects, butterfly surveys and other desk-based projects. I acted as an assistant to the Nature Reserve Warden and carried out practical nature reserve management work. I also conducted pond-dipping exercises with groups of local school children and organised tasks for several volunteers.
Feb - May 2009
British Trust for Conservation Volunteers
BTCV Plymouth Entry to Employment Volunteer Officer
My job involved assisting the project officer on practical conservation days targeted at young people aged 16-18 that displayed challenging behaviour.
ZSL London Zoo Reptile department
Work experience placement
My placement was to help with general husbandry in the Reptile House. This included the cleaning and feeding of an array of reptiles and amphibians. I organised the placement myself whilst I was at university because of my interest in reptiles and amphibians specifically.
Jan 2004 – 2007
London Wildcare Animal Hospital, Beddington Park, London
Volunteer animal care assistant
London Wildcare is a charity dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of native UK wildlife. I volunteered for several years as an animal care assistant, looking after a variety of animals, especially birds, hedgehogs, small mammals, squirrels, badgers, foxes and deer. My duties involved basic animal husbandry jobs, plus some that are more specific to an animal rescue centre or hospital. These duties included: feeding and cleaning; administering medication and assisting the vets in emergencies or general examinations; capture and release of injured or cured animals; hand-raising orphaned animals; habitat enrichment.
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