Bognor animal lovers become zoo keepers for the day

Rachel South feeds a giraffe at the zoo
Rachel South feeds a giraffe at the zoo

TWO animal lovers became zoo keepers for the day at Dudley Zoological Gardens.

Mother and daughter Rachel and Toni Smith, from Bognor Regis, joined staff at Dudley Zoological Gardens to get close to its animals.

The Sylvan Way pair worked with Rothschild’s giraffes and Sumatran tigers for the West Midlands tourist attraction.

Rachel, 43, said: “We had an absolutely amazing day.

The highlights were meeting the chimps and orangutans and tickling the tiger.

“We also flew a Harris hawk and hugged a tapir.”

Keepers for the Day discover what goes on behind the scenes at the 40-acre zoological gardens, one of the UK’s top zoos.

Throughout the session, they help staff with their daily duties including feeding, cleaning and caring for the collection. Many of the animals are endangered species.

Zoological gardens’ chief executive Peter Suddock said: “Rachel and Toni had a great time.

“It’s a unique opportunity to get close to some of the rarest animals on the planet and work alongside our keepers with a wide range of exotic and endangered species most folk see only on their TV screens.”

Funds raised by the scheme support conservation and animal projects at the site.