Category: Top News

Published on: March 6th, 2024

International Women's Day

This International Women's Day, we're celebrating all the amazing women across each department who help make Knowsley Safari so special! We caught up with a few of our colleagues, to highlight the importance of their contributions and achievements, by asking them the following questions:

What has inspired you to get into your role? 

Is there a moment you've particularly enjoyed, something you're proud of or achieved within your job role at Knowsley Safari?

Emily throwing enrichment to lions.

Emily throwing enrichment to lions.

Emily Munroe, Carnivore Keeper

For me, my inspiration came from the lack of familiarity with my role models because none of them ever looked like me. It wasn’t until I studied that I discovered the incredible women in conservation and the women of colour working worldwide for wildlife. I looked up to women like Jane Goodall and Daphne Sheldrick, who taught me so much in ways of compassion towards animals. Now I look to those working in local communities to create sustainable conservation plans, such as Dr Paula Kahumbu in Kenya and anti-poaching groups like The Black Mamba’s of South Africa.

I have always had inspirational women in my personal life, too. My Nana saved up money for years to travel to the UK from the Caribbean to complete her nursing training and was an incredibly caring woman. My Granny was the only woman who worked in the laboratories at her job in chemistry when she was my age. Both have guided and taught me to persevere even if I stand out and to keep compassion at the heart of everything I do.

Something I am incredibly proud of is giving enrichment, and I get to do it over and over again, always with a different outcome. I love coming up with ideas on how to entertain and excite the animals I work with and witnessing the positive outcomes is my favourite part of the job. Whether it's watching wolves play tug of war with each other or observing a tiger climb a tree to reach a new smell, their reactions are always something I will be proud of, no matter how big or small.

Nicola Watson, Education & Conservation Ops Manager

From a young age, I was fascinated by the natural world, particularly wanting to learn more about exotic species such as those in zoos and safari parks. I had a strong support system of women within my family, encouraging me to be the best I could be and to follow my dreams and passions. Without this support network, I wouldn't be where I am today; they continue to motivate me to push myself and remain my biggest cheerleaders. I am very lucky to now work with some incredible women who inspire me every day. Through my work, I hope to champion women in science and be a role model to the young people around me to aspire to a career in Conservation Education. 

In my new role as LDRC Operations Manager, I'm proud of the impact I'm able to have not only on the conservation of threatened species but also on my ability to engage with the local community and share my knowledge and passion for the natural world. My favourite moment during my time here was giving a tour to some Year 5 children from a local school - the face a child pulls when they see a Giraffe for the first time is my favourite thing ever! I spoke to them about my job at the Safari and all the cool things I get to be a part of. One of the children turned to their teacher and said "I want to be like that lady when I'm older" which absolutely made my day!

Nicola on a live stream to a school group.

Nicola on a live stream to a school group.

Gabi throwing enrichment to lions.

Gabi throwing enrichment to lions.

Gabriella Dooey, Carnivore Keeper

I have always had a lifelong fascination with animals, behaviour, and the natural world. Growing up, I would spend countless hours with my head in 'The World Encyclopaedia of Animals' or engrossed in a nature documentary. My love for the wild led me to pursue a career as a zookeeper. This role allows me to combine my passion for animals with a fulfilling career focused on education, conservation, and animal welfare. What used to be such a male dominated industry and still facing challenges today, I hope that myself and others in the field can inspire future generations of female conservationists.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is leading our big cat experiences. These encounters not only provide a thrilling opportunity for guests to connect with our incredible animals up close, but also serve as a platform to educate and inspire others about the importance of big cat conservation. I am an advocate for ethical interactions and working safely with big cats, ensuring each encounter respects their well-being and natural behaviours. It’s an amazing feeling when guests leave with a deeper appreciation and understanding of these iconic animals.

Heather Mugglestone, Carnivore Keeper

Many individuals are drawn to this occupation out of a deep passion for animals and the environment. I found inspiration in childhood experiences, such as visits to the zoo, watching Steve Irwin on repeat and encounters with wildlife.  A profound interest in biology and animal behaviour further motivated me to pursue a career in zookeeping. Additionally, a desire to contribute to wildlife conservation and education was a strong driving force for myself.

One of the moments I've particularly enjoyed in my role at Knowsley Safari is when I had the opportunity to assist in the care and rehabilitation of a group of animals brought to the park as part of a conservation program. Working closely with the team to create a safe and nurturing environment for these animals was incredibly rewarding.

I'm also proud of the educational programs I've been involved with at Knowsley Safari. Being able to engage with visitors of all ages and help foster a deeper understanding and appreciation for wildlife has been a truly gratifying aspect of my role. Educating the public about conservation issues and the importance of preserving natural habitats is crucial, and knowing that I've played a part in that effort brings me a great sense of accomplishment.

Additionally, I take pride in the daily care and well-being of the animals in my charge. Ensuring that they are healthy, stimulated, and thriving in their environments is at the core of what makes my work here so fulfilling. I believe that each individual animal's welfare is key to the overall success of the park and its mission.

Overall, the moments I find most fulfilling are those where I can directly contribute to the well-being and conservation of the animals, as well as inspire and educate others about the importance of wildlife and nature.

Heather getting on a tractor.

Heather getting on a tractor.

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