Many people dream of working with animals when they grow up, but for Lisa it’s not just about working with them, it’s about conserving them for future generations.
Lisa joined the Living Coasts team 7 months ago. She works with our estuary and auk collections, which include tufted puffins, two species of kittiwake, ruffs, redshanks, avocets, oystercatchers, stilts and a teal.
With so many species to look after, Lisa has a busy daily routine: “I do a head check every morning to make sure everyone is here and healthy. I check the enclosures to ensure they are safe and then clean them all. I also make sure there’s material for the birds to build nests in the breeding season. Then I prepare all of the food for the day. I help with public feeds and make things for enrichment activities to help encourage natural behaviours.”
Lisa’s father kept birds when she was little and it’s clear to see that his enthusiasm has been passed on. “I studied Animal Science at university, not just because I wanted to work with animals but because I wanted to help conserve them.”
Like most of us, Lisa has species that she is particularly fond of. Her favourite birds at Living Coasts are the tufted puffins. “They have really big personalities and are so funny, they can be quite clumsy and lazy but it’s great watching them interact with each other.”
Working with animals can be hard work, but it can also be very rewarding, as Lisa explains: “I love to watch the birds’ natural behaviours, see them form bonds, build nests and raise their young.”
As a keeper, Lisa often needs to get close to the species that she cares. She’s had some memorable experiences even in just 7 short months: “I swam with the auks while we were rounding them up for health checks.”
Passionate about conservation and keen to inspire others, Lisa’s favourite part of the job is talking to the public about the birds.
“It’s nice to get people passionate about the species I work with as they can often be overlooked. It’s important to give people the chance to learn about these birds, if they care about them then they will be more motivated to help protect them.”
“Our world is an amazing place with such incredible diversity, but with threats such as plastic pollution and climate change, humans are changing it to the point where we will lose so many species. Our planet and its biodiversity is too important to not try and do my bit to help protect it.”