This week we celebrated our pawesome animal keepers on International Keeper Day, sending a big thank you, from the bottom of our hearts to the tip of our resident’s tails, noses and toes to each and every one of them!

It’s not a 9-5 job, it’s not a fair weather job, and it’s not for the faint hearted. Wether it’s icy, blizzarding, pouring with torrential rain, weekdays, weekends, bank holidays, Christmas Day - the keepers are here for their animals. When they’re sick, like recently with Andean Bear Snoopy, keepers were onsite until midnight and again from dawn to make him as comfortable as possible.

New keepers to the team here at Safari Zoo start out in our “clean team” which is headed up by Ahmed. The clean team are key in maintaining and implementing standards around the zoo, including cleanliness of paths and visitor areas - a mammoth task in the soggier winter months - tidiness of enclosures - a mammoth task during summers like the one we’ve just had, where the heat and frequent rain were just right for weeds and grasses to get super-long.

Joining the clean team, we believe, gives new keepers an insight into the nature of their life as an animal keeper, being willing and able to get stuck in, get muddy and not be fazed by the elements.

From the clean team, keepers will join a section - from lemurs to carnivores, primates to Africa, we are lucky as most of the time this will align with the animals with which they have a special interest, helping build that essential dedication and commitment.

Our current team of keepers ranges in experience, qualifications, skills and knowledge. Our animal management team has many years experience within Europe and the UK. Some keepers are local to the Furness area, some from further afield - even as far as across the pond. Some have completed formal animal management qualifications and had research studies published as part of their masters degrees. Some come to us from other zoos and collections where they may have been employed, interned or gained valuable work experience. Some started out in different careers altogether - finance, veterinary nursing or hospitality for example.

We have an apprentice scheme, a fantastic opportunity for local children wanting to choose this path to work and train within the team - how many jobs can you honestly say you can make a difference in the world?

To Kim, David, Gavin, Michael, Simon, Bronwyn, Jenny, Emma, Erica, Jonah, Laura, Georgia, Adam, Lyndon, Saskia and Cameron.....Thank you for being otterly fantastic.