Wild cu­ra­tor

Featherdale F hd l Wildlif Wildlife P Park’s k’ di di­rec­tor of f life sciences cel­e­brates two decades of watch­ing over our na­tive an­i­mals.

Australian Geographic - - Geo Buzz - JESS TEIDEMAN

EVER SINCE HE was a young boy, Chad Sta­ples has loved an­i­mals. Af­ter fin­ish­ing school in 1996 he took a chance and ap­plied for work ex­pe­ri­ence with Featherdale Wildlife Park, one of western Syd­ney’s most pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tions and home to one of Aus­tralia’s most com­pre­hen­sive na­tive wildlife col­lec­tions. Luck­ily for Chad, there was an open­ing and that led to a paid role as an en­trylevel zookeeper in Fe­bru­ary 1997. Fast for­ward to 2017 and Chad is now cel­e­brat­ing 20 years with the park, the past four as di­rec­tor of life sciences. “It’s an in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult in­dus­try to get into, and so to have been in it now for 20 years…I feel very for­tu­nate, that’s for sure,” he says. “It’s the job you dream about.” It’s not just work­ing with an­i­mals that Chad en­joys. “I love in­tro­duc­ing peo­ple to an­i­mals,” he says. “I spent three years of my time here as the ed­u­ca­tion co­or­di­na­tor, teach­ing kids about an­i­mals – and I just loved it. It’s so ex­cit­ing to see peo­ple just light up and fall in love with Aus­tralian an­i­mals – it’s a huge high­light.”

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