Mike: Senior Carnivore Keeper
Read on to learn all about the keeper of Newquay Zoo's most dangerous animals, Mike Dowman.
Senior Carnivore Keeper
What animals do you work with?
Lions, meerkats, otters – the animals that love eating meat!
What section do you work on?
How long have you been a zookeeper for?
Over 40 years.
What is your favourite animal?
Umm… I try not to pick favourites but there are some animals that really have an impact on you. My favourite at the moment is Sandy, the female red panda.
What is the most dangerous animal on your section and why?
The most dangerous animal is obviously the lions, they are very big, very powerful predators and they're too risky to get too close to.
How did you become a zookeeper?
By being a stroppy teenage and not taking no for an answer!
I didn’t come in to this job the normal route. When I started there was an animal collections staff member in my village who worked at the local zoo. I went across to the Zoo everyday until I ran out of pocket money, because I really wanted to see the animals. One day my Mum said, why don’t you go and get a job there, so I did. My very first job at the zoo was picking up the litter from the bins, but it didn’t matter because I was with the animals.
Then one day one of the keepers was off sick so I offered to help and I guess it just snowballed from there.
What is the best thing about working at Newquay Zoo?
I love the atmosphere and the camaraderie between the keepers and the different sections and I also like that if you’ve got an idea management are prepared to listen.
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