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 Megan...
What do you do?
Zoologist, Wildlife TV Presenter and Campaigner.
How did you get into it?
I met my step-dad Chris Packham when I was 2 years old and his passion for the natural world was so infectious that it didn't take long for it to spread to me! I was very fortunate to have travelled around the world with him as he was filming and leading tours, so I was able to learn a lot about wildlife and the TV industry. I began volunteering at wildlife hospitals and conservation organisations both in the UK and further afield to gain hands-on experience before studying Zoology at the University of Liverpool and the rest is history! I was hooked from the get go.
What made you want to do what you do?
My child-like sense of curiosity to understand the world around me. I'm always wanting to know why that animal is behaving like that or how it functions. Once you start noticing the finer details and understanding the basic mechanics of the our environment you can't help but fall in love with it! So, when hearing about the worrying trends in climate and biodiversity loss it always drives me to do more to protect our planet.
Did you need and particular qualifications?
It really depends on which field you wish to go into. I'd always suggest starting off by volunteering somewhere to gain some practical experience with wildlife. You'll be able to gain an understanding of research, husbandry, science communication, etc, and that'll help you to narrow it down. If you enjoy research, getting a degree in biology or zoology is always needed. There are multiple routes into this field and you don't always need to have traditional qualifications to get a job. Your passion is always the main thing!
Any tips for a young person that wants to do what you do?
Social media is incredibly important! Theres a fantastic wildlife community on social media who are very supportive and alway interested in what you're up to. My advice (at this point in time with the self-isolation) would be to go into your gardens or local green patch to document what you can see and share your experiences. Get to know the wonderful wildlife community as that could really help to open doors later on.
What’s the best part of what you do?
My favourite part about my job is that I'm constantly learning new things that genuinely excite me about wildlife! Its brilliant to be able to share that information and engage with an audience who share the same passion.
What’s your favourite animal?
Difficult question.... I'm a big fan of predatory animals. They're behaviour and ecological importance is just fascinating. For me, I'd have to say either tigers, sharks or hyenas!
What was the first animal that you fell in love with?
A porcupine. There was a male porcupine called Vicar at Marwell Zoo in Southampton and I became obsessed with him! I'd drag my family there at every opportunity. I still love porcupines to this day...
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I'm a really keen wildlife photographer so I try to go out with my camera as often as possible. Its really relaxing just to spend time outdoors observing and then its a fantastic feeling to come home with a good shot! I'm also big into movies and music too.
If you weren’t doing what you do now what else would you love to do?
I was always really interested in drama and dance throughout my teenage years. I wanted to be an actress for some time.
Who inspires you?
I am always inspired by the people I met. Some of my top heroes would be Jill Robinson (founder of Animals Asia), Ruth Peacey (polar explorer and my wildlife filmmaking mentor) and of course, my step-dad, Chris.