Talking mammals!

Two Dudley Zoo keepers took centre stage at the annual BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) Mammal Working Group Meeting.

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Trainee Keeper Cara Sheldon, pictured above, spoke about setting up our successful Castle Creatures exhibit and caring for bats for the first time at Dudley and Lower Primates Section Leader Nicola Wright gave a presentation on white-faced saki monkeys. 

Staff from more than 20 UK animal collections attended the three-day event at Blackpool Zoo, including six other staff from DZG who went along for parts of the meeting.

The autumn conference, which was hosted at our zoo last year, featured a packed programme of seminars, presentations and practical workshops on mammals including primates, ungulates, carnivores and elephants.

Cara’s talk focused on our £250,000 interactive medieval experience Castle Creatures which opened in May this year.

She touched on the challenges of setting up an animal exhibit within a listed building and keeping fruit bats at DZG for the first time.

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Nicola, pictured above giving her talk on the difficulties of establishing bachelor groups of white-faced sakis to around 60 delegates, said: “It was good to represent Dudley Zoo at such a function, especially on the back of our successful hosting of the event in 2014.

“Other talks included the hand rearing of sloths, injection training of a diabetic primate and an in-depth look at Asian short-clawed otter genetics in the UK. 

“The day also provided an opportunity to network with other zoo keepers and gain new ways of doing things. 

“Various zoo tours were offered to delegates too. I went on the elephant one to see the current training programme and hear Blackpool’s plans for the future of elephants at their zoo.

“I hope our keepers will continue to put forward more ideas for talks and posters for the future to keep Dudley Zoo’s name relevant within the zoo community.”

Well done Cara and Nicola – you did DZG proud!