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Personal View of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust by Hamish Marett-Crosby. Talks to Quentin Bloxam, Zoo Project Director. There is a staff of 70 including everybody and there are thousands of animals. There are a wide range of skills that have to be catered for but the staff are well trained and take the pressure off you. Martin Syvret, groundsman, looks after 32 acres of grounds. You need a diverse range of skills to work there. An average day involves checking the grounds are clear, that the paths are walkable and then general gardening walk. He is laying a temporary path in front of the bear enclosure to give people a firmer footing. Doesn't enjoy clearing up after the public but enjoys developing the enclosures in the animal areas-growing rainforest plants in a Jersey winter is difficult. He has learnt a great deal since working in the zoo. First Record-Blur with Girls and Boys. Quentin Bloxam talks about the increase in size of the zoo but the philosophy is still the same. The zoo hasn't got commercialised-the family atmosphere has been maintained. Donna Preece, the junior reptile keeper, talks about the radiated tortoise-they come from Madagascar and enjoy the sun. They provide heating for tortoises so that they don't go into hibernation. The morning starts with the maintenance of the exhibition area, clearing up and when the public are let in the conservation projects are undertaken. A lot of time is spent observing the animals. They participate in special projects. She hasn't travelled yet but there have been trips to St Lucia and Madagascar. She has always been interested in animals and started volunteering in zoos from 13 and she has worked her way up the ladder until being offered a job in Jersey. She has been in Jersey for a year. Her favourite animals are the iguanas because they have their own individual characters. They try not to interfere with the animals and mimic nature as much as possible. Second Record-Peter And the Wolf. Mark Brayshaw, in charge of the marmoset rangers. Over the previous year that redeveloped the marmoset areas to increase their space so they are redeveloping another area this year. The marmosets use all of the space that is provided. They are allowed out in to the wood-they are checked 4 or 5 times a day and they are always fed at the same time of the day. When they're first let out they are observed. The breed in the woods-there was a birth of a black lion tamarin today. They try not to get involved in the process of the animals giving birth although a marmoset did have to have a caesarean section a couple of weeks previously. Not all of the marmosets have names but they have there own personalities. You can get attached to the marmosets and it is sad to see them go although it's for the greater good. He hasn't been involved in releasing any animals back into the wild but he hopes to in the future. He studied zoology and always wanted to work in a zoo. His favourite breed of animals that he looks after are the pied and black lion tamarins. Chris Dutton, a vet, has been at the Zoo for just over a year. He qualified in Bristol and worked in a normal veterinary practice but he got very interested in exotic animals at that time and subsequently worked in London Zoo for a year and after that he moved to Jersey. It is difficult changing from helping domestic to exotic animals-he tries to treat similar animals for example treating a snow leopard is comparable to treating a cat. He is still learning all the time-it makes it exciting and rewarding. Recently two gorillas were exported-the day of the movement was tense and he had to do the anaesthetic but it went well. The Jersey General Hospital staff provide help in their holiday times especially with the larger primates. He qualified at Bristol but when he qualified very little time was devoted to exotic animals but it is expanding now and people can specialise earlier. Most of the zoo work is preventative rather than emergencies-they are also involved in post mortems. They are involved in the breeding process-contraception is a major part of their work. Zoo work is a growing area of expertise for vets. Third Record-Rachmaninov. Second Part. Talking to Hilary French, the parrot keeper. She has worked in Jersey for 8½ years and she is from Somerset. Before she came to Jersey she worked at a wildlife rehabilitation centre in the West Country. She decided to come to Jersey Zoo because she had heard about Gerald Durrell. Her favourite part of the job is the breeding and working with a species that gets released back into the wild. The parrots of St Lucia were a great success-she has been out to St Lucia twice for field work. The birds that they breed at the zoo won't need to be released because the programme has been successful in St Lucia. She gets attached to the individual birds. She works with the St Lucian Parrots and the Thick Billed Parrot and her favourites are the St Lucians. They recognise her and new people. Her normal day is spent in the morning cleaning aviaries, servicing aviaries, checking the birds and preparing food. The afternoon is spent with another feeding round or maintenance work. In the summer because she works on the breeding programme she has to stay late in order to feed the chicks. Different chicks eat different food. The zoo look carefully they are feeding the various species the best diet that is nutritionally available. The birds are all endangered in the zoo. The birds can be very shy-it is difficult getting a balance between birds hiding and visitors wanting to see them. Fourth Record-Mozart's Magic Flute. Stella Norcup looking after the lemurs. Diet is important for the various animals-presentation has a lot to do with the diet. Insects are bred to feed insect eaters like the aye-aye and a lot is imported. She has stuffed larvae in a piece of bamboo because aye-ayes in the wild eat insects from wood and they try to replicate that in captivity. The long finger of the aye-aye is about one and a half times the length of its other fingers. She got interested in the work because she did a degree in environmental biology and then she volunteered and got a job at London Zoo and after finishing there cam to Jersey-about 15 months previously. There is a need for zoos for captive conservation and the educational side must be realised as well. Jersey has started a keeper scientist job which means some keepers get to go on field trips. Fruit is washed to get off the pesticides. A lot of fruit and vegetables are picked from the organic farm at the zoo. Lemurs are given fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, leaves and wood to eat. Bread and bananas are being fed to the bears. Hard boiled eggs are fed to the macaques. You have to know how much the animals move and eat and can't feed them too much of what they like. The future holds a lot of hard work, little pay but a lot of enjoyment-she hopes to take more field trips and improving animals lives in the zoo and learning more about animals. Fifth Record-Joni Mitchell with Big Yellow Taxi. Alan Gates, a man who used to work at the zoo. He sees a lot of improvements and an increase in size. He was originally on the bird section looking after the parrots. Remembers the cages of the primates. When he was at the zoo 27 years previously he didn't think it would grow so successfully. He is walking around and surprised at the different new complexes that have been built. Quentin Bloxam talking about the building of a new complex for the bears funded by Jersey Tourism. The building sites can look bad in the winter but he hopes that people come back to see the completed version in the summer. The paying visitors are vitally important for the continuation of the zoo. There is a conflict between conservation and putting on a show but ther're not mutually exclusive. You have to stimulate the animals as if they were in the wild and then they act naturally and interest people. The work at the zoo never finishes-they are always thinking of how to push the barriers back. He misses going on extensive field trips but he is very interested in staff development. Sixth Record-Chris Rea with Daytona.
Date: 11 January 1998 - 18 January 1998