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Tapnell Farm Park team
Alpaca

Meet our Keepers

Intro blurb

Tara

ROLE: HEAD KEEPER (Since 2016)

FAVOURITE ANIMAL: WHALE

How did your animal career begin?

My first experience of working with Animals began when I was studying Animal Care at the Isle of Wight College and secured a work experience placement at the Rare Breeds Park on the Island. My love for working so closely with a range of animals from mischievous Meerkats to hand rearing a Soay Lamb grew and I knew then that working with these amazing animals in the outdoors was what I wanted to do!

After completing BSc Animal Science degree at Plymouth University, I then came back to the Island and was fortunate enough to become a Keeper at Seaview Wildlife Encounter, a family run wildlife park home to Wallabies, Penguins, Pelicans, and lots of free roaming Ducks! I continued to grow my love for wildlife and animals here for 10 years until unfortunately the park closed it doors for good.

Although this was deeply saddening for the Keepers and all the visitors, all was not lost and thankfully this is where our Tapnell Farm Park journey began in 2016!

Some of the animals including the Wallabies, Meerkats, Donkeys, Baby doll Sheep, Pot Bellied Pigs and Alpacas were rehomed here at Tapnell Farm and I was over the moon when I was offered the chance to continue my role as Head Keeper and have a part in developing the Farm Park into a family friendly attraction as it is today!

What does your role involve?

As Head Keeper, I am responsible for the overall care of the Animals we look after as well as the amazing team of animal Keepers we have here! My role also involves the task of keeping animal health records up to date, providing health care plans for all the animals as well as all the paperwork that comes with having a Zoo Licence!

What’s your favourite Part about working at Tapnell Farm as an Animal Keeper?

My favourite part about being an animal Keeper is simply having the chance to look after such amazing animals which rely on us to provide them with the daily care that they need. All our animals are extremely friendly and love the interaction with people particularly our Goats, which makes our job so entertaining, enjoyable, and worthwhile!

Lucy

ROLE: HEAD KEEPER (Since 2019, animal keeper 2016-2019)

FAVOURITE ANIMAL: ROCKHOPPER PENGUIN

How did your animal career begin?

My love of animals was from a young age, a family background of farming and just having pets throughout my whole life is where it all began. I went down other paths before settling for animals at the Isle of Wight college studying Animal Care and the onto to further studies of Animal Management. Along with my studies, I volunteered my time in animal job roles at various places whilst working a parttime job. This is when I knew I didn’t want to do anything else.

In 2016 Tapnell Farm opened their doors and I applied straight away! I was employed as a Farm Park Assistant with the chance to help the Animal Keepers from time to time, this is when I was fortunate enough to progress to a full time Animal Keeper and in 2019, I was promoted to a Head Keeper working alongside Tara Hayter.

I am now lucky enough to say I work in a job that I absolutely love and dedicate most of my time, being an animal keeper is certainly a lifestyle. It is such a rewarding job, but it doesn’t go without its challenges and although it’s based on routine, animals throw many things at us daily keeping the job challenging.

My career has really only just begun, and I cannot wait to drive more fun and exciting things with the help of my amazing team at Tapnell Farm, so watch this space!

What does your role involve?

My role involves many factors from ensuring the animals needs are met fully, the keeper team are happy and managed. As well as this, I help drive new projects, from new animals, animal activities, signage and even enclosure set ups. There is always more we can do, so every year we aspire to provide more for our animals and customers. Along with the care of the animals comes the paperwork ensuring our very important Zoo Licence is up to date.

What is your favourite part of working at Tapnell Farm?

My favourite thing about working at Tapnell farm is working alongside dedicated animal lovers that everyday do their upmost to ensure our animals have the best of what we can provide them. I really enjoy coming up with new ideas, listening to my team’s ideas and helping them create what they envision.

Working with farm, pet and some exotics keeps me on my toes, which means learning something new every day. Farm animals like goats are one of favourites as they are so affectionate and you can really get to know them, I am a real sucker for Jar Jar our Nubian goat so do come and say hello to him and all our animals.


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