Chris Wilson, from Hull, will always remember his 40th birthday when he became a DZG Keeper for a Day and tickled a tiger!
Accompanied by his wife and daughter, who purchased the gift, as well as an entourage of family members, the Wilsons joined in the zoo’s Black Country Day celebrations and Chris even found himself featuring in a video being filmed on site during the day alongside Brazilian tapir, Chico and keeper, Neil Flockhart.
Chris said: “The highlight of the day was the start getting to stroke and tickle a tiger on the back of her neck and feeding her fish when we were more or less eye to eye.
“I was asked afterwards if I was frightened, but the way she lay next to the gate and purred put me completely at ease.
“But the rest of the day was by no means disappointing and it flew by as I fed the penguins, spider monkeys, lemurs and giraffes, as well as giving drinks to the orang utans and chimps and having a barn owl land on my arm during the bird demonstration.
“The different zoo keepers were brilliant and explained all about the animals and making me feel safe at all times as well as advising my family where to be so that they observe what I was doing.
“My wife and daughter really enjoyed themselves too, so much so that our daughter who is two is still talking about Daddy tickling the tiger and my niece can’t wait until she’s old enough to do the junior experience herself in a few years time.”