We are proud to introduce our first OK!Dolls Ambassador Renee Bauhofer, a Zoologist at an Australian Zoo.
We were lucky to have a chat with Renee and find out what a Zoologist does.
When I think of what a Zoologist is I think of someone that works with animals in a Zoo but that is only a fraction of what they might do. Zoology is the study of animals and their behaviour. Zoologists may study a particular species or group, either in the wild or in captivity. So while some Zoologists may work in Zoos others may do fieldwork travelling to remote areas to study their chosen breed in their natural environment. Their efforts are critical to protecting endangered species and other wildlife from the pressures of habitat loss, disease, invasive species, and climate change.
Renee is particularly passionate about the protection of the Numbat, one of Australia’s endangered species. These small marsupials have drastically reduced in numbers and Renee is part of a group working to help them.
I have always had a love of nature, especially animals, and I decided to study Environmental Science and Conservation Biology at uni.I have always had a love of nature Through this course I decided I wanted to work in the conservation field and it was a work experience week at the Native Species Breeding Programme (a breed for release programme for some of West Australia’s most endangered animals) at Perth Zoo that first had me interested in Zoology as a career.
The day depends greatly on the species being looked after. A general day on the section I work starts with collecting keys from the key safe, followed by a morning meeting with my section in our office to discuss any important jobs for the day.
We then check on the animals, and give them morning feeds if required, (e.g. mammals and birds will often have a morning feed, frogs and reptiles won’t). The middle of the day will vary but may include enclosure cleaning and maintenance, veterinary health checks, oestrus monitoring, animal observations (especially when animals are paired for breeding), staff meetings, sourcing food and equipment, food preparation, helping staff on other rounds, data entry and research paper writing.
The end of the day includes afternoon feeds, final clean up, writing daily reports and staff handover notes, final checks of the animals and enclosures, followed by returning keys to the key safe.
Getting to work closely with some very cool animals including some rare species. It is especially cool to be involved with breeding endangered animals to help save the species from extinction and releasing them to the wild, to help save a species from extinction.
And of course baby numbats are super cute!
The most challenging part of my work is knowing the huge number of native species that are at risk of extinction and having such limited resources to assist in their conservation. We certainly do the best with what we have but I wish we could save them all!
Yes, there have been a few senior zookeepers that I have looked to as mentors in my career, with my current supervisor, Cathy, being my greatest inspiration ever since day one...from tiny frogs one minute to elephants the next.. I am also inspired by the zoo veterinarians that work with such a huge range of species, from tiny frogs one minute to elephants the next, and they perform surgery to help save injured and unwell zoo animals’ lives. To me, they are rock stars!
Spend time with friends and family (especially my husband and three daughters), get outside in nature, (especially the bush and the beach), reading, gardening, cooking and traveling. Though, my biggest passion is drawing and creating! I draw for mindfulness and I really love drawing Australian natives (check out Renee’s drawings here). The animals I have worked with at the zoo have been great inspiration to me and I hope to celebrate them through my artwork, and help raise the profile of endangered species at the same time.
Keep your eye on your goals, don’t be afraid to take opportunities, and get as much animal experience (voluntary and/or paid) under your belt as possible. It can be a competitive field, so try and set yourself apart with voluntary work with animal conservation groups and rehabilitation facilities.
The Numbat is a unique, rare and endangered animal, and I fell in love with them when I was seven years old. Project Numbat is such an important organisation that raises money for Numbat conservation,..preventing them from going extinct.. as well as awareness in the community about the species, both of which are key to preventing them from going extinct.
20% of each ‘Renee’ doll sold will go to Project Numbat.