Friday, 11 April 2014

Lifestyle: My Trial Day Working As A Volunteer At Paradise Wildlife Park Zoo

Hey everyone,
In December I applied for a voluntary job working at my local zoo, Paradise Wildlife Park. I love all animals and visit the zoo every year, its my favourite place to go! When I did an experience day there, where I got to go into the Wolf enclosure and meet the three young beautiful Wolves (read all about that here) and I got talking to one of the Wolf keepers and she suggested volunteering. I sent an email and I heard back about a week later offering me an interview, the only downfall was that it wasn’t until March! All their interview slots were full until March as its such an incredibly popular voluntary job.
I was so nervous when it came around to my interview, I have always had different animals but have never worked with them, so wasn’t sure what they would be looking for in a volunteer, because if it was experience, I had absolutely none! I’m such a nervous person anyway, although you’d never notice if you met me, but I got through the interview and it all went fine. The staff member conducting my interview was great and he was telling me that they have huge numbers of applications for volunteering roles every single week. So, when he said I would be coming back for a trial day, I was so pleased!
I got the trial date, which was a few weeks later and again, I was so nervous. When I arrived there were two other people on their trial days, one was someone doing their Duke of Edinburgh award and the other was someone just like me that just wanted to be surrounded by animals! We had a brief health and safety induction and a quick tour around the staff areas of the zoo before we were sent off to the section we would be working on that day.
Volunteers only work on four sections of the zoo (Carnivores, Primates and Reptiles are off limits to volunteers), the four sections are: farmyard, Birds, small mammals (Meerkats, Otters, Red Pandas etc) and paddocks (Camels, Emus, Wallabies etc). I would have been over the moon to work on any of these sections and the section I got was farmyard. I love farm animals and although they’re not exactly ‘zoo animals’ they are still animals that I don’t get to see very often, so they’re just as interesting to me :)
I was working with two other volunteers and two zoo keepers on the farmyard section all day and everyone was so nice and friendly and I didn’t feel nervous at all, within about 30 seconds I was getting stuck in, cleaning the enclosures! Realistically, most of the job is cleaning animal enclosures and also around the zoo, but its so nice to just be around the animals. Its definitely not just sitting around cuddling animals and taking selfies of yourself with a monkey or something! Although, there were quiet moments where I got to meet some of the animals, go into their enclosures (or get them out of their enclosures if they were small) and pet them etc, but I'm sure the same doesn't apply on all sections, there's obviously plenty of animals that you can't pet or go into their enclosures!
At one point, I was sweeping the Pony enclosure and one of them just came over to me and nuzzled into my stomach, it was so cute and made my whole day. I went into the Pig enclosure and gave them a good old scratch, which they love (especially behind the ears) and they make a squealing sound and wag their little tails. The animals on the farm section are: Ponies, Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Guinea Pigs, Rabbits, Ducks, Ferrets, Rats, Gerbils, Chinchillas and Chickens. So lots of different animals to keep you occupied!

So, when I'm not dolled up in my favourite makeup, I'm rocking pig tails and I'm covered head to toe in mud and animal poo, haha. I thought I'd finish this post with a picture of the newest resident to farmyard, a week old little Lamb. Actually since I wrote this another one has been born and the little Lamb in the picture is probably nearly a month old!

I'm delighted to say that I have been asked to return to Paradise Wildlife Park and have got a position working as a volunteer assisant zoo keeper! I will probably be back on farmyard next weekend, which I don't mind because I enjoyed my trial shift so much :)
Thanks for reading!
Have you ever thought about working with animals?
Emily :) x


  1. I'm completely envious since I've wanted to do something like this for a long time! Best of luck with it and enjoy every second :o) Xx

    Makeup by Candlelight

    1. I've always wanted to work with animals, so it really is my dream job! Thanks so much, I will! :) xxx

  2. That sounds so relaxing! I'm kind of scared of being around animals, but I do like looking at them and watching them go about their business. They really are fascinating.

    1. It was such a lovely day, can't wait to go back this weekend! I am scared of some of the animals, but I'm fine with most of them! They are amazing to be around, you can never be down around animals! :) xxx

  3. Aw I love Paradise Park, visited there the other week and the red pandas are adorable! Well done you :) enjoy it! xx

    1. I love it there too, it was my favourite place to go as a kid! Me too, I can't wait to get on the small mammals section so I can work with them! :D Thanks so much :) xxx

  4. Woooow... I came across ur post while looking up info for volunteer work at paradise wildlife park. Iv always been an animal lover.. A little nervous most the time lol but I feel so content being around them. I done a floristry course at capel manor in 2006 but always found myself round the farm area at lunch breaks :-). Am hoping to try and get a volunteering position for Saturdays.. I have a very unsatisfactory job as a cleaner right now.. Now I'm coming on 26 is like to start living my dream of working with/around animals... I suppose the only thing that has ever stopped me is confidence issues... Fingers crossed ! And congratulations on your zoo keeper assistant job :-)