35 years at DZC!

We’re saying congratulations to Zoo Manager Matt Lewis who today marks 35 years at DZC!

Starting out as a fresh-faced 16-year-old trainee on the bird section, over the last three and a half decades, Matt has worked his way through the ranks to Zoo Manager, where he now deals with all the operational day-to-day running of the attraction.

We’ve quizzed him with some quickfire questions…

What do you like most about working at DZC?

The variety you get day to day. There’s always something different happening to keep your interest.

What’s your favourite animal at the zoo?

Our Humboldt penguins.

I started working here as a trainee bird keeper, so penguins were one of the first species I worked with.

What do you look forward to the most when you come to work each day?

Seeing the animals.

Living on site I get to do a walkaround every morning and evening. I seem to have a set route which I reverse later in the day.

It’s nice to see the animals when it’s quieter on site. At the moment, the binturongs are really active during an evening, so it’s great to stop and watch them.

Are you up with the lark or a night owl?

Both!

Describe one of your favourite work memories…

Hand rearing Pingu the Humboldt penguin back in 1991 was special.

He was one of the founding members of our former Humboldt colony and a firm favourite with staff. He was our oldest penguin, reaching 30 years-old and his descendants have helped boost colony numbers at collections across the country.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give to someone who just started their zoo keeping career?

Never take for granted the privilege of caring for the animals. That’s the main reason you’ve wanted to go into that career.

Enjoy it as it’s the best job in the world!