Senior Conservation Breeding Officer

About me

I have a keen interest in animal behaviour and have attended many courses over the years and have trained animals using reward based training methods. I’m a keen runner and have competed with my two sled dogs (a Siberian husky and a Scandinavian hound) across the UK and Europe on the GB Canicross team.

Work

I started working at WWT Slimbridge in January 1989 in the restaurant, unfortunately I was made redundant a few years later but stayed with WWT and volunteered in the tropical house and the duckery where I was lucky to be given a job as Duckery Warden a few months later.

My time in the duckery was an incredible experience working with some amazing species, also inspirational and skilled people from whom I learned a lot and inspired me so much in my work as an aviculturalist, I left to have my daughter but was lucky to be able to still volunteer in the evenings and when needed for catches etc.

I also spent a few years working in the shop at Slimbridge whilst my children were small and continued to help out with the Avic team when time allowed.

In 2012 I was asked if I could help out with some cover in the CBU team looking after the spoon-billed sandpipers a couple of days a week I obviously jumped at the chance - five and a half years later I’m still here and loving it.

I have been lucky enough to not only work with the spoonies but to help out with the Great Crane Project, walking cranes, feeding, cleaning and looking at some of the behaviours of captive reared birds. In 2014 I was able to go to Germany to collect eggs, this was an incredible experience - one I will never forget.

In 2016 I went back to Germany this time to collect godwit eggs ahead of the “headstarting” project at Welney to trial the rearing method back here at Slimbridge.

In 2018 I was incredibly lucky to go out to Madagascar and help with the first translocation and reintroduction of Madagascar Pochard from the breeding centre at Antsohihy to Lac Sofia.

I also help care for CBU’S captive black-tailed godwits, Baers pochard and ferruginous duck all of which are for current and future projects, helping us to trial new methods of breeding, rearing and release (head starting).

Skills

  • A good understanding of animal husbandry – good practice
  • Designing and building aviaries to house ducks and waders
  • Installing a large array of fans, lights and ponds into aviaries
  • Experience breeding and rearing a large variety of ducks, geese, swans, flamingos and waders
  • A good understanding of animal behaviour
  • A good understanding of artificial incubation
  • Willing to come in in the middle of the night and knock snow of aviary nets