Angel Pesut (pronouns: she/her) is a recently qualified marine and wildlife biologist, working her dream job at Wildlife Habitat Zoo in Queensland, Australia. For as long as she can remember, Angel has always loved wildlife and after realising her dream of becoming a zoo keeper, Angel has worked consistently to make this a reality. Although this is the first of many steps in Angel’s career, we caught up to reflect on the journey so far and where she’s going from here.
From a young age, Angel has been volunteering with animals which although financially challenging at the time, has paid off for her after finishing her studies. Angel simultaneously completed a certificate in Animal Care at TAFE as well as a a Bachelor of Science, majoring in marine and wildlife biology at Griffith University.
Having worked her way up from volunteer to employee, Angel is now focusing her attention on moving from the bird round to the mammals, where her heart lies. We talk about the importance of persisting in the face of adversity throughout your career journey to follow your heart towards your dream job – and what a role in zoo keeping actually looks like on the ground!
PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF
Working with wildlife can certainly be a challenging (and exhausting!) field to break into. At the end of school, Angel was exhausted by volunteering and the persistent voices of people telling her why don;’t you just be a doctor or something? Everyone wants to work with wildlife there’s no money in it! Getting involved in wildlife rescue and spending time at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand reignited Angel’s passion for working in the field.
‘When you do something you’ve wanted to achieve from such a young age – it’s easy to put pressure on yourself, especially when people try to talk you out of your dreams’
But Angel is living breathing proof that if you’re truly passionate about something, you can succeed and make I work as your heart’s in it!
For anyone looking to dismiss these negative or discouraging comments in their own life, Angel suggests acknowledging your friends and family, but not taking on that energy and continuing to push toward your dreams.
‘It’s definitely difficult but I have people in my life that have supported me in it, and it’s really great now that when I finally got the position, to thank those people, and prove the others wrong!’
A TYPICAL DAY AS A ZOOKEEPER
It can be pretty hectic and there’s much smaller facilities here than larger Zoos and Aquariums I’ve experienced on the Gold Coast, but overall it’s a wonderful experience!’
A typical day for Angel varies significantly depending on which round she’s on. Angel is in not just responsible for contributing to the care and welfare of the animal husbandry but also the public engagement, facilitating tours, keeper talks and feedings.
Working on the bird round has been a fun and exciting experience for Angel:
‘Birds are full of personality. I never really knew that because I’ve always worked with mammals -and they’ve got personalities too – but birds let you know straight away!’
Zoo keeping is certainly a crazy but rewarding lifestyle which gives you an opportunity to work hands-on in animal husbandry, become the face of public engagement and also lead a more normal city-based lifestyle! There are so many great reasons to consider zoo keeping as a profession if you’re wild abut animals like Angel.
Zoos, and the important role they play in facilitating interactions between visitors and animals is one of the main reasons why Angel became hooked on wildlife from such a young age!
‘I’m doing what I do now because I visited zoos as a kid. While my family wasn’t especially interested, I’d insist we went each year on my birthday – and this was where I fell in love with animals’
And, full circle now – Angel receives feedback from visitors after the talks she gives telling her how they had no idea an animal was threatened – and how their child now appears to be obsessed by it!
This really shows the power of zoos in delivering effective science communication to raise the profile of animals and awareness of their ecology and population status throughout the world.
KEEP IN TOUCH
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