The Adventures of Dexter and Axel Blog

Working with Wildlife - An Interview with Lisa Wardell

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An interview with.....

This is a new series of blogs, of interviews with some wonderful people who work within the animal industry, from zoo keepers, to museum curators and everything in between and those that are on the path to working in these positions too. Be inspired for a future where you can combine your love of animals with your day job. I hope you enjoy these interviews, that you can learn something from them and they can inspire you.


Now let me introduce you to Lisa...


Lisa Wardell




Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

What do you do?

I’m the Park and Education Manager at Trentham Monkey Forest

How did you get into that?

I started out as an animal Keeper, then moved on to be a instructor who teaches about the animals in my care. I then made a bit of a leap to zoo education (not looking after animals anymore, but still teaching about them). After building an education department at a small zoo, I then moved to Trentham Monkey Forest to build up their education department, and manage the park.

What made you want to do what you do?

I could never see myself doing anything other than working with animals. For me, there was no other plan!

Did you need any particular qualifications?

I did a Bachelor of Science in Animal Behaviour and Welfare. Lots of animal collections require a high level of learning to do what we do.  A few teaching qualifications in there too. 

Any tips for a young person that wants to do what you do?

Volunteer!!! Get as much experience working with animals as you can. Preferably of many different kinds! It will give you valuable experience, and make you more desirable to hire when looking for a job working with animals. Experience is key 😊   

What’s the best part of what you do?

Heading out into the forest before visitors arrive, watching the monkeys coming down from the trees where they’ve slept- ready to eat the breakfast we’ve brought.

What’s your favourite animal?

African Crested Porcupine 

What was the first animal that you fell in love with?

A porcupine named “Snuffit”. When she first arrived she was just an angry ball of quills. 5 years later she’d follow me anywhere, when I whistled. She taught me so much, and it was the absolutely hardest part of leaving the job, knowing I was leaving her behind.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Walk my dog! I’m the definition of an outdoor person. If you can’t find me, I’m more than likely in the woods with the dog.

If you weren’t doing what you do now, what else would you love to do?

If I couldn’t work with animals, I’d like to work in Forestry. 

Who inspires you?

A great many people! Colleagues past and present. I’ve never met such a dedicated bunch of people who live to work in this industry. Animal people are a breed apart

Where can people find you?

Find us across all social media platforms! We’re going to be putting out some educational materials soon, to help parents with home-schooling children.





If you work within the wildlife industry and would like to be featured as part of this blog series please pop me an email to [email protected]



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