DRUSILLAS Park has been celebrating their amazing zookeepers in the lead up to International Zookeeper Day, celebrated on 04th October each year.

The special day recognises the incredible work zookeepers do to protect and care for all manner of animal species.

Drusillas Park is lucky enough to have a group of brilliant and talented zookeepers making up their zoo team.

Their role is extremely varied, and zookeepers find themselves not only looking after the physical and mental requirements of their animals but teaching the public all about conservation and the species in their care as well.

Drusillas Zoo Animal Manager, Mark Kenward, said: “2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for us all, but I just want to take a moment to praise my wonderful zoo team. They have worked tirelessly throughout lockdown and reopening to keep our animals healthy and happy and they have not uttered one word of complaint.”

“We are used to being in large teams and really working together to complete tasks, but since corona we have had to very much work separately and only support each other from afar. In our line of work this is immensely hard, and I am so proud of every single keeper for soldiering on and never once letting our high standards slip, even when things have been tough. Come rain, shine or pandemic they turn up and work their bloomin’ socks off. They never stop caring for the animals at Drusillas, and the love and attention they give them each day, really translates into just how happy the animals at Drusillas are.”

Zookeeping is a demanding job and animals require round the clock attention, but Drusillas zookeepers are unwavering in their dedication and made sure all their animals are well looked after.

Drusillas Deputy Head Zookeeper, Gemma Romanis, said: “I love being a zookeeper! My job is everything to me. Every day I get to work with a large number of wonderful and diverse species at Drusillas, each one of them has a different personality and different needs. Every animal is totally unique, and that’s something I’ll never get bored of.”

“I love that through my job I am able to inspire a love of animals in our visitors and to teach and help others learn about how to look after animals, and to make them aware of the importance of conservation in the wild.”

“We have really done well in our work with The Sloth Conservation Foundation this year, raising over three thousand pounds and lots of awareness for the issues sloths face in the wild, such as deforestation and habitat loss. If I can just change one person’s perspective, or shine a light on why animals need our protection, then I feel like I have really done my job and achieved what I set out to do.”

Next week, alongside members of the public, Drusillas zookeepers will be partaking in Drusillas first ever virtual race for conservation. They will be running, walking, cycling, and swimming a distance of either 2.5k, 5k or 10k to raise money for sloth conservation.

Drusillas virtual race team now consists of 100 participants, that will be racing a combined distance of 657k! So far Drusillas race team has raised over £1000 for sloth conservation and the total is growing each day. The race kicks off on Monday 5th October and participants have seven days to complete their challenge. If you would like to sponsor Drusillas virtual race team please visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Drusillas-Park

You can also come and meet the zookeeper’s in person every day at Drusillas! The zoo team are always happy to answer questions and impart their knowledge. Those that are really keen to learn can take part in a ‘Keeper for the Day’ experience and spend the day shadowing a

keeper and helping them in their daily duties. If you would like to take part in a ‘Keeper for the Day’ experience, please visit: www.drusillas.co.uk/keeper-for-the-day

Drusillas is proud to cheer on their zookeepers and can’t thank them enough for all the amazing work they do.