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Volunteer Spotlight: Miriam Haas

To celebrate Volunteers’ Week, we would like to highlight some of the incredible volunteers we have at Paignton Zoo, and find out more about the crucial roles they play in supporting our charity.

We spoke with Miriam Haas, whose name you may recognise as one of our community photographers. On top of sharing her breath-taking photos, Miriam also kindly dedicates one day every week to support our keeper team with the daily care of our animals.

Can you tell us about your role as a volunteer at the zoo?

“I did mammal support for just over 3 years. This involved working alongside the keepers, cleaning the enclosures, making enrichment and any general tasks required during the day. All volunteering stopped when the first lockdown started and the mammal support role never restarted, but I returned to volunteering at the end of 2021, this time doing food prep.“

240429 PZ Swamp Wallaby Miriam Haas
© Miriam Haas 2024

Can you share a memorable experience or story from your time volunteering?

“Lots and lots of memorable experiences while doing mammal support – good and bad, but that’s part and parcel of working with animals. I feel privileged to have had the chance to do that role and the memories will stay with me forever.”

240429 PZ Rothschild Giraffe Miriam Haas
© Miriam Haas 2024

What does a typical day look like for you as a volunteer?

“I start my shift at the large mammal house at 8am. I chop the veg that the keepers have weighed out for each group of animals and I also weigh out the pellets needed for each group. The animals whose feeds I prepare are the giraffes, red river hogs, peccaries, and wallabies. Once I’ve finished there, I go down to the ape centre to help with their feeds. I usually do the gorillas’ and orangutans’ feeds – they eat a lot of veg!”

240429 PZ Western Lowland Gorilla Miriam Haas edited
© Miriam Haas 2023

What advice would you give to someone considering volunteering at the zoo?

“If you have the time to commit, then go for it! You can learn so much and will meet lots of like-minded people, many of whom will become your friends.”

Volunteer at Paignton Zoo

By volunteering at Paignton Zoo, you will be supporting our education, scientific and conservation work.

If you are looking for a new interest or a chance to meet new people and support an education, scientific and conservation charity then come and be part of our team of volunteers at Paignton Zoo.