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Name: Lisa Britton

Job title: Assistant Zoo Manager

Location: Chessington World of Adventures Resort

Area: Operations, Zoo


Career journey:

I'd had various jobs working with animals, but as I wanted to work with gorillas I made the move to Chessington as a Mammal keeper. Then I progressed to become Primate Supervisor, Animal Collections Manager and, finally, Assistant Zoo Manager. I’ve worked with many species, but I'm most experienced in primates, big cats and reptiles.

Current role?

I work across departments to ensure the highest standards of animal husbandry and health & safety. I'll oversee when animals move in and out, and develop new ideas for their enclosures. I'm also a member of the Great Ape and Primate focus groups for the British and Irish Association of Zoo and Aquariums (BIAZA). This means being an active presence across the zoo community.

Best part of working for Merlin?

It's the teamwork. New ideas are always welcome and we're always looking for ways for improve. There's constant change and the opportunity to get involved in projects. You can work with other departments such as PR and Guest Experience. This gives you more knowledge and transferrable skills.

Most memorable experience?

There's too many to pick just one! I’ve been lucky enough to work with gorillas and see our amazing lion cubs grow up. But one of my most memorable experiences was the opening of Land of the Tiger at Chessington. It was 18 months' hard work, from planning and design to arranging the transfer of four tigers from Sweden, and then settling them in. But it all paid off on the opening day!

How have you made a difference?

I oversee and promote the Chessington Conservation Fund (CFF), which aims to protect the future of nature and wildlife through conservation work and education. CCF has really grown and is now supporting many projects and charities worldwide, including:

  • Surrey Wildlife Trust supporting the hedgerow heroes project
  • World Land Trust where we have funded the protection of three areas of forest in Ecuador and funded rangers to help protect these areas
  • Dambari Wildlife Trust helping to protect rhinos and run education programmes in Zimbabwe
  • Wildcats, where CFF funded a project to protect Amur Tiger in China via a human conflict project

Recently, I spent a couple of weeks in Ecuador, to see how we're protecting three areas of forest by funding rangers.

Timeline in Merlin:

  • Assistant Zoo Manager at Chessington World of Adventure Resort: Present
  • Collection Manager at Chessington World of Adventure Resort: Oct 2015 - June 2016
  • Primate Supervisor at Chessington World of Adventure Resort: Sept 2012 - Oct 2015
  • Mammal Keeper at Chessington World of Adventure Resort: March 2010

Background:

  • HND in Animal welfare and business management