Our Junior Conservation Hero Competition was a huge success and the entries we had overwhelmed us here in the zoo. But, as with every competition there had to be some that stood out above the rest and so we chose our regional winners from the many amazing entries we received in!
Our regional winners were Ciara, Niamh, Anna and Lauren. Some of the girls even came along to the open night of The National Reptile Zoo and met mayor Andrew McGuinness!
Some of our Junior Conservation Heroes posing with their awards and the Mayor of Kilkenny as well
After all the excitement of the name change from Reptile Village to The National Reptile Zoo we invited the girls in to the zoo to get a taste of what it was like to be a reptile zoo keeper. Anna, Lauren and Ciara came down to the zoo one Sunday afternoon and met with Dave, our education officer. Dave explained all the tasks they would be involved with on the day and the girls all dove in head first. They were naturals at the job!
Winners Anna, Lauren and Ciara stop to take a photo with Dave, our Education Officer
The first job is always – cleaning. And the second. And the third. We do a LOT of cleaning here in the zoo. So the girls’ first task was to clean the windows of the Tropical Walk Through Exhibit– we need to be able to see all our pretty animals.
The girls get going on cleaning some windows
The girls were a great help around the zoo and loved even the smallest of jobs. They kept smiles on their faces the whole time, it didn’t matter if it was cleaning windows, changing waters or cutting veg. They soaked up the whole experience and loved every minute.
Anna gives the Marine Toad some fresh new water
Junior Conservation Heroes ‘dishing’ up some more fresh water
Next came feeding the time and as ever the girls were more than willing to give Dave a hand (to help feed the animals, of course!) Michelle our Yellow Foot Tortoise was first to receive her few crickets. Then it was onto the Caiman and Salt Water Crocodiles. The girls laid out their lunch for the crocs to snatch them up!
Michelle never turns down a tasty treat
Diego lurking around waiting for his mice……….
As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun! It was nearly time for the final and maybe most important part of the day for a Reptile Zoo keeper – The Animal Encounter!
The girls showed no fear and were more than willing to help Dave with Blue Steel, our 3 metre Burmese Python. They helped display his impressive size for the public while Dave gave everyone a talk on just how cool these animals are.
Everyone loved the talk and the girls had their own little pieces of information to relay to their adoring public that they had learned through the day.
A great day was had by all. The girls really got a taste of what it is like to be a keeper here in The National Reptile Zoo. If you would like the chance to become a keeper then check out our Junior Conservation Hero page.