Todd Cummings, Zookeeper
What is your favorite animal/species to work with at the Zoo and why?
Cynthia the Pig! Pigs and boar are some of my favourite animals. Not only are they a key-stone species, which makes them incredibly important members of an ecosystem, but they have been proven to be more intelligent than dogs!
What conservation project do you currently support and why?
I am a huge advocate for native wildlife conservation. I support the Vincent Wildlife Pine Marten Recovery Project because not only do I love Mustelids, but I had the pleasure of working with the species at our sister zoo, New Forest Wildlife Park, where they were bred for release as part of this project.
If you could bring one species back from extinction, what would it be and why?
Toughie! Walking with beasts was my favourite show growing up and I love learning about all the impressive prehistoric animals that used to roam the earth.
Gigantopithicus blacki was a relative of the orangutan which some may recognise from the live action Disney jungle book film as King Louis! These apes stood around 9m tall and were up to 20x stronger than a human! The sight of one of these real-life King Kongs would be truly humbling.
What animal at the Zoo would you most say has a personality most similar to yours and why?
That would have to be Sir George, our chameleon. Sir George lives life at his own leisurely pace, which is also my mantra. He also eats a huge amount for such a little guy, using his long projectile tongue. I am usually the one to finish off the leftover food at break times, and my tongue is quite long too. I can touch the tip of my nose with my tongue, and I'm pretty sure most people can't do that.
What is the smelliest job at the Zoo and why?
There are many horrendously smelly jobs working in a zoo, but I am blessed with an awful sense of smell so I can usually tolerate them a bit more than most! That being said, cleaning out the duck shed can be pretty gross.
Can you show us the funniest photo on your phone of one of the animals you work with at the zoo?