‘it can be dan­ger­ous’

TV Times - - Interview - Elaine Reilly

When talk­ing to

Lon­gleat big cat keeper, amy waller (right), the Wizard of Oz lyrics ‘Lions and tigers and bears (oh my)!’ spring to mind.

this year, amy cel­e­brates her 10th an­niver­sary at the wilt­shire sa­fari park. and here she tells TV Times about her job…

Zookeeper is an un­usual job – how did it hap­pen?

I’ve al­ways had a pas­sion for an­i­mals. I grew up five min­utes from Lon­gleat and used to hear the lions roar­ing from our house, but never thought of it as a ca­reer! af­ter do­ing a de­gree in land­scape ar­chi­tec­ture, I needed a job, so I ap­plied for sum­mer work at Lon­gleat. I worked my way up and have been here ever since!

Is it as dan­ger­ous as it sounds? we work with big car­ni­vores – tigers, lions, chee­tahs and wolves. It can be dan­ger­ous, but we’ve had rig­or­ous train­ing. My dad some­times has night­mares about tigers. when he wor­ries, I re­mind him that it’s ac­tu­ally a very safe place to work.

Who are the park’s star at­trac­tions this sea­son? def­i­nitely chee­tah cubs win­ston and Poppy! they’re now ready to see the pub­lic – let­ting them out the first time was quite stress­ful.

Do you en­joy ap­pear­ing on An­i­mal Park?

See­ing my­self on cam­era is a bit cringe-wor­thy but re­minds me how spe­cial the job is. My friends love the show, but I tend to think things like, ‘My hair looks wrong!’

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