Find out from keeper, Daisy, what a typical day is like caring for the primates at Howletts Wild Animal Park:
Daisy, Howletts Primate Keeper with ring tailed lemur, Max
How long have you been working at Howletts Wild Animal Park?
I've been working at howletts since July 2018, however I completed an internship on the primate section in 2014 and volunteered during my university holidays between 2015 and 2018.
Can you give us a typical example of your day?
Typically my day starts at 8am and finishes at 5pm.
Feeds for all of the primates on the section are prepared, making sure that all of the diets for the day are correctly made and chopped.
After preparing the feeds, we then feed them out. While we feed we perform visual health checks of each individual as well as ensuring there are no issues with their environment. Following this, we begin our day of cleaning, this can involve simple pick-ups, where the floor is cleared of any mess and the benches are cleared ready for food to be put on them, or heavy duty full-cleans in which every inch of the indoor enclosure is scrubbed clean to ensure good hygiene.
This is when we have an opportunity to enrich our animals, creating midday enrichment items for the primates, this includes things like putting in hanging structures for the animals to move around on, putting in puzzle feeders to cognitively challenge the primates, or simply hanging natural browse or providing a scatter feed for them to feast on.
If there is still cleaning to be done it is finished in this time. If not, we use this time to maintain the enclosures by strimming, branching or cleaning outside areas.
Evening feed, similar to the morning feed around, animals are visually checked for any signs of illness or injury and fed.
What’s the least favourite part of your day?
There is very little that I actually dislike about my day, but if I had to pick something it would probably be having to sort out our incineration rubbish, it's smelly and gross.
Do you have a favourite animal and why?
Javan gibbons have to be one of my favourite animals, I got the opportunity to watch them very closely over the course of my undergrad dissertation studies. They can be so affectionate and playful with one another and their singing is just fantastic.
What’s your favourite cheese?
Hmm, probably brie?