PUBLISHED: 13:27 16 May 2014 | UPDATED: 13:06 30 August 2017



Go behind the scenes at Newquay Zoo and meet the people that make it so special

ROSALIND SMITH discovers why Newquay, and the people who work there are such an inspiration for Cornwall...

The family friendly resort of Newquay has many thing to boast-fantastic beaches, beautiful surrounding countryside and a fantastic community spirit. As well as all this it has Newquay Zoo, a lovely charity that is doing great things - both internationally in terms of conservation and locally in terms of inspiration about the natural world. Here we meet some of the members of the team and discover why we should all love Cornwall and Newquay Zoo.

'I get to walk past a lion every day and chat to a meerkat on my break. How many people can say that! '

Lorraine Reid, Events manager

'Cornwall is a great place as it has such a friendly atmosphere, which was the reason why I used to come down with the family from Scotland every year on holiday. It would take 10 hours in a car, and although we could have gone halfway around the world in the same length of time, we always preferred to come here. One of our favourite places to visit was Tintagel, and I even have photos of the kids, taken each year as they were growing up. Standing on top of the castle. Now I live here, it's a dream come true! My role at the zoo is so varied and no two days are the same. It is great when we see familiar faces coming back each year. We benefit the local community as well as our own charity. While I am quite hands-off with the animals, I still get to walk past a lion every day and chat to a meerkat on my break. How many people can say that! '

John Meek, Animal collections manager

'No day is the same and that is the main reason why I love my job. I don't just get to work alongside some magnificent animals but what I do helps them both in the zoo and in the wild. Newquay Zoo is making huge progress with international conservation projects and that is something that I am proud to be part of. My favourite animal at the zoo changed daily but my current favourites are the black wilderbeest - they are really incredible animals. Cornwall is a great place to to live as there is a real focus on outdoor life. Getting out and exploring the coastline, the woodland and the towns with the family is a great way to spend a weekend, and I particularly enjoy going to Padstow and eating fish and chips on the quay.'

Nicole Howarth, Senior Primate Keeper

'I am so excited to work at the zoo. With so many graduates struggling to find employment, I have been given a fantastic opportunity here. When I fist visited I was impressed with the dedication to animal conservation - especially the in-situ projects - so it is great for me to gain valuable experience in a business with such strong environmental credentials. The zoo is a unique and special environment in the same way that Cornwall is - everyone wants to get involved and help each other out- it's a friendly welcoming atmosphere. I studied my degree in Cornwall and use my qualification not only working with lemurs at the zoo but also as a volunteer for Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Blue Reef Aquarium. I just love living in Cornwall and I am thrilled to be here.'

Mark Norris, Head of Education

'I like the fact that the zoo is a small and friendly and hasn't become too corporate. To be working somewhere that is so involved in wildlife conservation, and to be offered opportunities to get involved myself and to teach others about the work we are doing, is definitely a motivation when coming to work! Cornwall has some pretty spectacular coastline. I especially love Mawgan Porth because I can ride my horse, Archie, on the beach there, but I also like Falmouth, Padstow - anywhere by the sea. My favourite animals at the zoo are the zebra, but I also like the ring tailed lemurs - they are so friendly and one of the few animals that our visitors can get up close to.'

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the Cornwall Life