14 Sep 2020 13:16:35
Q: How long have you been a penguin keeper?
A: 7 years! I started off as a casual penguin keeper, worked part time while I was studying and am now a full-time keeper. Getting greeted by penguins every morning is just as exciting as it was 7 years ago.
Q: What could be a next career move for penguin keepers?
A: It can be quite a competitive industry to get into and many people start off with part time positions before securing full-time work. From a full-time penguin keeper role, you could progress to a team leader or curator position within the aquarium.
Q: Does being a penguin keeper put you off eating fish?
A: I have never eaten much fish anyway, but since becoming a penguin keeper, I am now far more aware of the devastating impacts some fishing practices are having on wild penguin populations and make more environmentally focused choices about the fish species I eat.
For people who love seafood, Forest & Bird's 'Best Fish Pocket Guide' is a great resource using a simple traffic light system to rank the sustainability of commercial seafood species, making it easier than ever to help protect the ocean and NZ's penguins the next time you're at the supermarket or out for fish and chips.
Here at Kelly Tarlton's, we ensure all the fish fed out to our birds is from well managed sustainable fisheries and is fit for human consumption (they get the best of the best!). I'd happiyl join the penguins for lunch as long as my share of fish gets cooked!
Q: What's your favourite part of the job?
A: The penguins of course! They are some of the most fascinating and charismatic species on the planet and i'm lucky enough to get to spend my days with them. People often don't realise how individual each bird really is and watching the chicks grow up and develop their own unique personalities is one of my favourite parts of the job.
Talking with visitors and connecting people with wildlife is also incredibly rewarding.
Q: How do you remember all the penguin's names?
A: Believe it or not they all look, act and sound different. We've also made it easier for ourselves by giving each bird a unique ID band around their flipper. On your next visit to Kelly Tarlton's, take a look at the poster outside the enclosure with these IDs, so you can get to know them too!