Curator Richard Brown is celebrating 20 years as a zookeeper today – after writing to ask DZG for any job with the animals!
Richard was just 16 years-old and two-weeks into Sixth Form when he decided school wasn’t for him, but it was during a day trip to DZG that his mum suggested he write and ask for a job with the animals.
Richard said: “I had no thoughts of being a zookeeper, I wanted to be a police officer or fireman, but it was my mum that suggested I write to DZG as we always had a lot of pets at home.”
And the letter worked as he was interviewed for a trainee zookeeper position, during which he was asked if he liked animals!
However, he didn’t get the job, but the successful applicant turned down the role and Richard was hired, starting as a DZG employee on September 30, 1996.
Working with the site’s ungulates and carnivores, Richard began on 93p an hour, but worked his way through the zoo ranks to secure his current curator role last year.
Richard said: “From not even contemplating a zookeeper position, it’s turned into the best job in the world even if it is quite scary that it’s been 20 years already.
“I love the variety of the job and I’ve always had a passion for animals and the outdoors and I’m looking forward to the next two decades at DZG!”
Find out how some of our other zookeepers secured their jobs next week, when we celebrate International Zookeeper Day!