Lizzy Humphries, Zookeeper
What is your favourite animal to work with at the zoo and why?
Depends on what day you ask me! I love the intellectual challenge of working with primates and particularly enjoy the privilege of working with the critically endangered cotton-top tamarins. I’ve also really enjoyed the journey of trust Muckle (our sassy owl) and I have been through - the first time she flew to me was definitely in my top 3 animal moments. My guilty secret, however, is that I am utterly obsessed with sheep… seeing our Valais Blacknose, Tag and Hubie, gallop towards me, always makes my day!
What conservation project do you currently support and why?
I am really interested in the work of Citizen Zoo, an organisation working to bring back a number of our native British species to London, including water voles and beavers. We’ve lost so many of the species that greatly benefit our ecosystems – beavers, in particular, contribute to creating wetland habitats that can support numerous birds, amphibians and small mammals as well as creating natural flood defences, and it would be great to see nature brought back to the heart of our cities.
If you could bring one species back from extinction, what would it be and why?
Giant Ground Sloth. A four-tonne, elephant sized, herbivore walking on its hind legs. What’s not to like?
Which animal at the zoo would you say has a personality most similar to yours and why?
I think Thunder, our emperor tamarin and I have a fair amount in common. We’re both small, a little bit hyperactive, look completely dishevelled the second it rains and can always be heard whining when waiting for our lunch!
What is your favourite thing about working at BPCZ?
I feel so lucky to work with such a wide range of species. In most zoos, you have to specialise but here we get to work with every species. Being a smaller zoo means that we develop really strong relationships with all of our animals, and this gives an amazing sense of community between us as keepers and the animals.
Can you show us the funniest photo on your phone of one of the animals you work with at the zoo?