Friday 28 February 2014

INTERVIEW: Derek Gibson Head Keeper at Exmoor Zoo

Hi Mark,

My daily routine for the big cats at the zoo are quite straight forward, 8 am prepare the food, head on down to the pen, shut both Leopard out of the inside dens and then proceed to clean them, place the food in the main "show den" both cats will then come in both are then separated into their own den so that they don't fight over the food while the cats are eating it gives me a chance to go in the outside enclosure and spot pick and wash windows at this point it is also possible to use our enrichment program and depending on the day implement whatever enrichment is due. The cats are fed again at 4.15 in the summer and 3.30 in the winter again the food is placed inside the house they bring it outside while i do a public talk that can last anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes depending on what the cats are doing and also how interested the public are.

What is daily life like for the cat? well i would like to think it is stress free, with plenty to do if they so wish and above all safe from all the trials and tribulations of their wild counterparts. When it comes to conservation i think it very much depends on ones own personal definition of what conservation actually is, i know its a vague answer but it is such a huge topic and personally i think if you can "spark" an interest in a child about the majesty of the Leopard by simply taking time to show and to talk is conservation, on the flip side being involved in breeding programs and providing the "safety net" to safe guard a species is also conservation.

Hopefully the answers i have provided are ok for you please feel free to email me on this thread any other specific questions you have, and i will do my very best to answer them for you.

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