Enjoy this brief interview with Nadia Gould who has been working at Paignton Zoo as a Trainee Keeper for the last 14 months. Discover how she got her dream role, why she loves her job so much and her favourite animals to work with.

Name - Nadia Gould

Position – Trainee Keeper

Time spent in zoos – 3 ½ years

Where – I have spent my whole time in zoos at Paignton Zoo, first volunteering for two years until a position became available; I have now been a trainee keeper for 14 months.

Why work with animals – I grew up around pets, in particular reptiles including chameleons, iguanas and snakes. I always had an inherent love for exotics and as I got older I knew I wanted to work with animals.

I worked on a game reserve for a couple of weeks in South Africa, working closely with the big five; this increased my passion for wanting to help wildlife and to make a difference in the lives of animals.

How did you get here – I started by a national diploma in animal management at Bicton college, then continued onto a foundation degree in animal science.

After this I started an internship within the Education Department at Paignton Zoo and then began volunteering on the Mammal Department to work more closely with the animals.

Finally, 14 months ago I got a job as a trainee keeper on the large mammals section, transferring to the primates two months ago.

Favourite animal – This is a really hard question as I have lots to choose from and can never make my mind up. I like the gorillas, gibbons, mandrills and swamp monkeys.

Why – I love all these animals in slightly different ways, but it’s mainly due to their individual personalities, the social structures within the groups – and how can you not love listening to the gibbons sing every morning!

Favourite part of the Job – My favourite part of the job is that no two days are ever the same, but I also like walking around first thing in the morning and being greeted by the animals I care for. I also enjoy providing enrichment to the animals and watching them try to figure it out and play.

What do you work with – I work with primates, in particular, swamp monkeys, gibbons, mandrills, pygmy marmosets, howler monkeys, and squirrel monkeys.

What is your daily routine - I start work at 8.00am, beginning with a daily briefing with the other keepers, then I look at the day’s schedule for any important events and go out to check the animals under my care. I then feed and clean everything until lunch; the rest of the day is spent making enrichment, collecting browse, doing maintenance jobs and afternoon feeds, ending the day with final checks and lock up.

Quotes So much to see, beautifully laid out and loads of interesting information on all the animals. Quotes