What I did on my work placement
I worked at Colchester Zoo for my work placement year, carrying out the daily duties that the zookeepers do. That included cleaning, feeding, medicating, interacting and providing the animals with enrichment. I was also lucky enough to shadow the vet. The highlight was working with the chimpanzees, which I initially didn’t think would be possible, but after building up the trust of the keepers and animals, I was allowed to work behind the scenes more, including feeding and interacting with them. As part of my placement, I also got the chance to go back out to South Africa to work on the zoo’s private nature reserve for two months, having previously spent two weeks in that country on my field course module working on a game reserve. I also went to the Seychelles for a month to volunteer and work with bird species.
For my sandwich year, I had job offers from places in Ecuador and Costa Rica but I chose the zoo because the nature of the work was where my heart lies. It was 100% the best thing I’ve ever done and is helping me apply all of the practical knowledge I gained during my final year at Hartpury University. Chimpanzees are a species I’ve always wanted to work with and I’d love to continue doing so in future. In the long term, I’ll definitely look to go out in the field and work with animals in the wild.