Meet inspirational Zoo volunteer Logan

This Te Wiki Tūao ā-Motu (National Volunteer Week) we’re celebrating Auckland Zoo’s incredible 170+ volunteers - like inspirational Logan Daly (17), who took time out to chat us about her mahi aroha and sharing her passion for wildlife. 


What made you want to volunteer at Auckland Zoo?

I was really missing animals when we came to New Zealand from South Africa in 2014 – so I started looking at options of places I could volunteer where I could be around animals and keep my passion for wildlife. In 2019 I discovered on Auckland Zoo’s website that I could join the Tuatara Club, which you can do when you’re 15, and I thought, this is for me!

I was born in Johannesburg and through my dad’s best friend, who is also my godfather – my family and I got to spend lots of time at the wildlife reserve he worked at in Magaliesburg, Gauteng, and it made me so happy. There were zebra, giraffe, springbok, waterbuck, impala, wildebeest, vultures and quite a few other species, and we even got to hear jackals at night! The place was called Mogale’s Gate Environmental Education Centre. Even though we were really young, my sister and I would help talk to the students, and I got to learn so much about wildlife.

As well as my dad’s friend, my dad’s aunt worked for Greenpeace and was involved in its famous Rainbow Warrior. She also worked for The Endangered Wildlife Trust in South Africa, and she also really influenced us to want to help keep wildlife safe – not just within our own country, but in other countries too that also faced problems.

What did you love about the Tuatara Club, and how did you move onto being a Zoo volunteer?

When you join the Tuatara Club, which is for 15-17-year-olds, you get to learn so much about all the animals at the Zoo. You’re doing study and then going out in the Zoo. With other club members you do lots of different activities –like animal quiz boards with visitors, cleaning windows and signage, talking to visitors so they can learn more about the animals, and learning about animal watches. Because you’re with people your own age, you also get to make really good friends. There were four others in my group and lots of us have continued volunteering. Once you’ve completed being a Tuatara Club member, you have the opportunity to apply to be a visitor assistant volunteer, as part of the Zoo’s main volunteer programme, as I’ve done. Otherwise, you have to be 18 years old.

What do you love about volunteering now?

I work every second Sunday because I’m still at school, in my final year at Westlake Girls. I’m now a visitor assistant and training to be a guide. As a trainee guide, I love that I get to roam in specific areas, like in the Africa Safari Track, for example, where I get to feel at home and see my favourite African animals – giraffe! I’m continuing to learn so much, and get to teach other people, and I love seeing little kids’ faces light up when they see the animals.

While in the Tuatara Club, we got to learn a lot about New Zealand native animals, spending time in Te Wao Nui, and I’m still learning about New Zealand animals.  Here in New Zealand, you learn so much about conservation, and what the Zoo does. New Zealand is a small country that has a lot of endangered wildlife, and many people don’t know what species are endangered and most of them are quite unique – like the Archey’s frog that doesn’t even make a sound! 

I love how Auckland Zoo is a very open zoo with the way the habitats are designed, and that people also get to learn about animals in the wild, and how Auckland Zoo is helping them, like the Nepalese red panda.

How does volunteering help you personally?

I’m finding what I learn at the Zoo is helping me at school, especially in biology at the moment. Currently we’re learning about animals with respect to plants, and thanks to the Zoo, I already know some of this information. 

Through volunteering I also get to see the friends I’ve made through the Tuatara Club and meets lots of other great volunteers as well.

Where we you like to take your passion for wildlife?

I really want to be a vet, and also study zoology, and my dream and goal is to be able to go around the world and help with conservation efforts. 

Any words of encourage to other people thinking about volunteering?

Give it a go! It’s really rewarding, and if you’re passionate about being part of something it’s a great experience.  You really grow as a person as you get interact with lots of different people and learn to think on your feet. Auckland Zoo is also a very accepting place – and even if you’re more introverted you’ll feel accepted. And if you love animals, you can share your love and excitement for them with other people.