Unfortunately we have to say good bye to keeper Laura, pictured above on her favourite day here when the firemen arrived!
Laura has decided to leave us to go travelling for a year. Her plans are to go to Australia to train to do some ranch work, while spending all the money she earns on seeing the "sights" downunder. While that way she hopes to take in a bit of New Zealand as well.
Laura has been a valued member of my keeping team for over three years now, and will be surely missed. We wish her all the best in her new adventure.
Of course, this means we have had to hire a new keeper....
Above is Tom. His first day was today, and already he is making new friends with our very friendly Flo. Tom has come straight from University where he has completed a degree in Ecology and Biodiversity, after studying Countryside management at Plumpton College. During his studies he did a lot of volunteer work within habitat conservation, and has some good experience in particular with handling and surveying of small mammals. Something I hope to utilise over the coming months with our ever expanding release programmes on to the nature reserve.
Tom is here for a year to gain some valuable experience, before going out to gain work in the field of habitat management and conservation. Vital work to help encourage the growth of our British species. Of course, this coincides with when Laura will return... We hope that maybe she will re-apply for a position when it becomes open.
Meanwhile, our new female otter... Grace, has settled in extremely well. She now uses her observation holt, and has often been seen cuddled up with Stirling, pictured below. Over the weekend she has started to come out even with people around to watch, and has even been approaching us for food, although not quite yet hand feeding.
Stirling seems very happy with his new mate, and we are all very hopeful for a litter of otter cubs over the next year.