Friday, August 19, 2022
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Magic moment for guest rhino keeper

Fiona Ker looked after a rhino for a day

A YOUNG Edinburgh woman lived out one of her dreams today as she enjoyed being a ‘Keeper for a Day’ at Edinburgh Zoo.

Fiona Ker, 21, the first visitor to experience exactly what it’s like to be a keeper at one of the UK’s most famous zoos.  From cleaning to feeding, Fiona experienced it all and enjoyed a special insight into life behind the scenes as a zoo keeper.

Recently Edinburgh Zoo launched a series of 30 minute Magic Moments and a Keeper for a Day experience for its visitors.  These magical experiences allow members of the public to get up close and personal to some of Edinburgh Zoo’s animals, and one part of the keeper experience is helping feed the one horned Indian rhino duo Bertus and Samir.

During this exciting and rare encounter with two of Edinburgh Zoo’s largest animals, Fiona got to hand-feed the rhinos their favourite treats of apples and carrots.

Fiona said: “They look so powerful and are quite intimidating, but I think quite a few people would be surprised to know that they’re actually big soft gentle giants up close!  It was a fantastic opportunity to get so near and to hand feed them. To sum up my experience one word would be amazing!

“Their skin was so rough and thick, almost like folds of bumpy leather round their bodies, but behind their ears was as soft as velvet.  They really enjoyed their food and I was surprised at how soft their mouths were.”

Claire Walkingshaw, presentations keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said:

“It’s great that we can now offer animal lovers this unique opportunity to get so close to our animals – especially our rhino boys!  We’re able to bring members of the public in such immediate proximity to them because of the training we do with Bertus and Samir.  The boys are trained to display their ears, if vets needed to take blood this is the softest part of their body, and show us their feet to check they are healthy.”

Edinburgh Zoo offers Magic Moments that last for 30 minutes or a Keeper for a Day Experience if 30 minutes just isn’t quite long enough.

The day offers an unforgettable experience for any animal lover, from meeting Dillon the armadillo, to feeding our lovely lemurs, to making enrichment for the Zoo’s sun bears and chimpanzees!  To top it off, Edinburgh Zoo will give everyone an exclusive “Keeper for a Day” t-shirt and their very own certificate.

Prices start from £50 for 30 minute Magic Moments and £250 for the full day Keeper Experience.  The Rhino Magic Moment is priced at £70.

Most Magic Moments are suitable for adults and children aged 12 and above (children must be accompanied by a supervising adult), however visitors must be 16 and over to take part in the Rhino Magic Moment.  Keeper Experiences are for adults and those aged 16 years and above.


For a full list of terms and conditions and to book a date for an experience, please contact [email protected] or 0131 314 0349.

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