Gary: Senior Bird Keeper
Meet Gary, Senior Keeper of the bird department. Gary looks after some of the rarest species on site. His knowledge and experience has meant he has spent a lot of time developing and improving the bird department, like our new aviary 'Gems of the Jungle'.
Senior Bird Keeper.
What is the best part of your job?
Well, I mean it's clearly the animals. Working with amazing birds. But actually, the older I get it's working with the amazing people. It never used to be that important but I find that its quite interesting now when your working with good people, like we have here at Newquay Zoo.
What is your favourite animal?
Well, it's the birds. People always ask what my favourite bird is but it changes from week to week. This week, I think it’s the spotted laughing thrush, but next week it might be something different.
What is the most dangerous animal on your section and why?
Probably, the male white crested laughing thrush! He likes to peck you, you’ve got to watch your eyes because he could really do some damage. But he shouldn’t cause you any major problems, I don’t think. The most dangerous to handle is probably the penguins, they are powerful little birds with really sharp bills and strong bites. Someone described them to me once as having bread knives on their beaks – that’s how sharp they are!
What is the best thing about working at Newquay Zoo?
Umm… because of its size you need to be a jack of all trades, not only looking after the birds but we're also building aviaries and doing all these other things. Whereas in a bigger Zoo you wouldn’t get to do that as it would be run by a different department. It means I’ve got the opportunity to do a lot of things that you might not necessarily get to do elsewhere, it’s a chance to really have an impact on your section and really influence its development.
How long have you been a zookeeper for?
24 years I’ve been working within professional animal husbandry, not always as a zoo keeper though. My first job was in an aquarium wholesalers, whilst there I bred tropical fish. Then I worked in animal rehab before becoming a zookeeper.
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