My career path so far
I did my placement year with the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) in South Africa and after my finals I returned for three months to help facilitate the new African penguin chick rearing unit.
I later got a maternity cover position as a trainee Animal Keeper at Marwell Zoo in Winchester. Initially, the sections we worked on were mostly mixed species, but after a few months the sections changed to taxonomic and I was transferred to the birds section. I later got a permanent position on the primates and small mammals section, and after a while I was being trained once a week with carnivores so I could help out if they needed it.
Whilst I was at Marwell, the eighth International Penguin Congress took place in Bristol. This is where I met my next employer, the Curator of Penguins at Ski Dubai. Five months later I was working in Dubai as a Penguin Trainer with King and Gentoo penguins. This was one of the best experiences of my life, and I still miss it now.
After over a year of working there, I saw an advertisement for the job that I am currently working now, Head Penguin Keeper at Bournemouth Aquarium. I wasn’t particularly looking to leave Ski Dubai but I always think it is good to keep an eye out for potential opportunities. Bournemouth Oceanarium had built a brand new penguin exhibit after spending five years planning it. After contacting the curator I discovered that they were only looking to employ one person to facilitate this. For me, it was a blank canvas, and still is in many ways. I have been working here with a colony of Humboldt penguins since then.
The two most exciting parts of my career to date have been working in South Africa rehabilitating wild African seabirds and working in Dubai with King and Gentoo penguins. These two experiences are definitely at the top of the excitement list. Each experience has presented me with new challenges, new cultures, meaningful work, amazing animals, and lots of incredible people.
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