Reindeer help Jo’s studies

DZG’s reindeer are helping keeper Jo Turner with her second year studies.

As part of the Diploma in the Management of Zoo and Aquarium Animals (DMZAA), students have to specialise in a particular animal subject, so Jo picked her favourite DZG species to study – reindeer.


Jo, pictured above, said: “I’ve chosen to research how the temperature relates to the day-to-day behaviour of the herd and whether or not it has any implication on if they want to go outside or stay indoors.”  

Every morning, using two digital thermometers, one inside the reindeer house and the other outside in the paddock, Jo records the minimum and maximum temperatures gathered throughout the night and then observes how the reindeer react.

Jo added: “I’ve been collecting data since December and will carry on until the beginning of May, so I’ve got a long spell of cold weather and some warm weather to compare.

“I’ll then plot all the results into graph and pie chart form and draw conclusions and statistics, but at the moment from what I’ve seen, the only thing that’s changing their behaviour is the rain.”

As well as the research project, Jo will have a further six assignments about animal husbandry and animal management to complete alongside her day job of caring for some of the rarest animals in the world.

DZG Registrar and Research Co-ordinator, Dr David Beeston, who is also Regional Co-ordinator for the course said: “After achieving nine distinctions and a merit in her first year, Jo has progressed well into the second year and is well on her way to successfully gaining her DMZAA qualification.”