Interview with Tuatara Club graduate, Rebecca Smith:
Why volunteering at the Auckland Zoo?
I loved animals and wanted to help out with an organisation that is associated with animals and learn more about animal care. I found about the work on the Auckland Zoo website.
In the future I would like to become a future worker at the zoo – perhaps a Zoo keeper and work with the big cats.
This year I have been doing a ‘Certificate of Animal Care’ which is a 1 year course at Unitec. It looks at legally owned animals – their welfare, biology and the rules and regulations. I also do dog walking for a company and take a group of them to a park for socialisation skills.
What do you do?
I began volunteering at 16, in the Tuatara Group, every Saturday for 6 months. At first we learned about our own (NZ) native animals. Now I am a visitor assistant throughout the day, help with directions and talk about the animals. You also gain experience in the different sectors such as behavioural enrichment - you are always learning.
Next year (2019) I hope to apply for a 6 month Zookeeper internship which would begin in October.
What would you say to others about volunteering?
I recommend it highly for what you get out of it. We are required to do a minimum of once a fortnight, but there is flexibility. You get to talk to others about animals – which is something that makes you and others happy
Of course, volunteering at the zoo is open to all ages! Learn more and become an Auckland Zoo volunteer here.