Long-distance adopters turn keepers

Two friends from Scotland and London met in the middle to spend a brilliant day caring for the DZG animals they adopt.

Lee Hamilton, from just outside Glasgow, and Luke Baker, from the capital, got up close and personal with their adopted animals during a Keeper for the Day experience.

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ABOVE – Sprout’s adopter Luke Baker, right, hands over a smoothie maker to DZG Keeper Ian Kirk, left, during the keeper for the day experience

Snow-leopard fan Lee booked the experience to meet one-year-old Makalu who she adopted in July, and Luke, who is mad on orang-utans, wanted to be introduced to four-year-old Sprout, who he has adopted since June.

So the long-distance pals decided to make a day of it and visit the animals so close to their hearts. But as well as helping our keepers feed and care for our creature collection, the pair also came bearing a gift!

They had heard about DZG’s new Amazon wish list – which offers donors a choice of practical items we need which can be purchased online and delivered directly to the zoo – and donated a smoothie maker to provide nutritious drinks for the chimps.

Lee said: “The zoo keeper day was brilliant, it was such a humbling and rare experience to get up so close to such rare and beautiful animals.

“The zoo keepers were all very passionate and knowledgeable about the animals in their sections and provided so much information on the animals in their care.

“During the day we got the opportunity to feed snow leopards and tigers and gave the orang utans and chimps drinks and food.

“We got to feed the giraffes, tickle and massage tapirs, feed penguins and have lemurs climbing on us. It was great to fly an owl too.

“It was obvious that Dudley Zoological Gardens really does care about all the animals and conserving the endangered species.

“It’s a great place with friendly staff and it’s definitely an experience I’d recommend.”

And since returning to their respective homes after the experience, the pair have sent us even more items from the wish list including another blender, two kettles, a socket set and five sacks for the orang utans.

Thank you so much Lee and Luke for supporting what we do at DZG – Be great to see you both back some time!