Zoo’s a stage for African adventure guide
An animal lover is combining her passion for wildlife with her acting skills to play host at an African adventure night at Auckland Zoo on Sunday.
Dr Doris Crusher, known better as Herne Bay resident Clare Kelso, will be slipping into her tour guide role on the night, entertaining guests as they go behind the scenes at the zoo’s African enclosures.
Later she will host a charity auction while guests are treated to an African-themed feast.
Clare says she created the alter-ego of Dr Crusher when she started giving tours at the zoo 21 years ago.
Now she is one of the zoo’s Zoom Tour guides, juggling her time there with acting stints on popular local shows such as Shortland Street and more recently, Outrageous Fortune.
“Working at the zoo is my passion, and so is acting,” she says.
“So I use humour a lot to help people remember conservation messages.”
Although a five-week safari in Tanzania several years ago cemented her love for African wildlife, Clare says she has always been an animal lover.
“I’ve always loved them. They have better manners than people.”
Items up for auction on Sunday will include genuine African artefacts such as pottery.
All proceeds will go towards the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund.
After the auction, professional wildlife photographer Claire Vial will give a talk and slideshow presentation on her African adventures.
Zoo communications coordinator Jane Healy says the Africa nights have been running for four years and are incredibly popular.
“It’s an amazing way to get behind the scenes.”
Tickets for the night are $80 and are available by calling the zoo on 360-3805.
Hands-on role: Dr Doris Crusher, aka Clare Kelso, with Auckland Zoo’s youngest rhino Mtoto.