EVA MORGAN - AUSTRALIA
"Spending time at Lory Park is one of my best volunteering experiences, I gained a lot of hands on experience and learnt a lot about animal care and handling from the friendly staff and management in a safe and supportive environment. I would recommend Lory Park to anyone looking to work with animals."
My time at Lory Park Zoo was among the best experiences I have had to date. I traveled to Africa with the intentions of gaining hands on animal and wildlife skills and I left with far more than I had ever dreamed. My volunteer time at Lory Park was based around the breeding center of the zoo and learning about the skill of hand-rearing cubs. Dealing with baby cats (of all varieties, tigers, leopards, lions, ocelots) is not something the staff and owners of the park take lightly and my training reflected this. Before ever handling the animals I was given ample information on the breed and best practice methods for handling and hand rearing. I watched them from a far, learned about their behavior and how to safely interact with them as well as the proper hygienic techniques to keep them safe and healthy. Each one of these animals has a unique personality and it was an absolute privilege to get to know them during my time at the park. The staff was amazing. They took pride in teaching and never hesitated to answer my millions of questions or show me how to do something multiple times until I was comfortable. The love for animals that each and every staff member displayed was infectious. Each enclosure is designed specifically for a particular species (or sometimes a particular individual , In the case of Wonky - read her story, its beautiful) and each day there is time and creativity devoted to enrichment activities for the animals. As I said before, Lory Park is amazing.. it has taught me so much and really given me a new perspective on just how well a zoo can be run! Go! Visit! Volunteer... you will fall in love like I did!
SARAH SAMYN - BELGIUM
Doing my internship at Lory Park Zoo was the best decision I have ever made. Although it was not easy. To think that I had to leave my friends, family and boyfriend behind in Belgium for 3 months. I still remember myself sending an email to Eddy van Eck considering this. He said everything would be ok. He was right! It took me about two days to think of my home with a smile instead of tears. When I got back to Belgium it took me more than a month to think of Lory Park Zoo without bursting into tears. This to give you an example of how this place crawls under your skin!
The experience not only healed me from my depression. It took away my many fears of life and learned me how to embrace those fears as a part of the wonderful life we live. It is such a lovely place to work and I enjoyed every single minute. The owners, Matty and Eddy van Eck are two wonderful people. Always eager to listen and help, with their hearts at the right place. I sincerely love them both for that! The staff is awesome to work with. They all love their jobs with great dedication. Although working here is not always easy, it can be hard and exhausting. But the fact that you are constantly surrounded by animals makes it worth our while! Not only can a person learn how to work around animals, take care of them and learn how to work together as a team. We are also blessed with the unique chanse of bonding with animals.
I will be forever grateful to Eddy and Matty who gave me this opportunity! Also I would like to thank every staff member of Lory Park Zoo. Without their help I would’nt have learned so much about the animals living there. This was not my last experience at lory park. I’m determined to go back and help them. As I said, this place gets stuck underneath your skin, so I’ll be back again!
JOLENE NEIRYNCK - BELGIUM
A did an intership of three months in Lory Park. I have worked close with animals where I never thought I could ever touch them. It was a real dream comming true. I went to bed and woke up in morning with lion roars. I hand reared cubs like with lions and sibarian tigers, worked every day with encredible beautifull creatures . I learned a lot about wild animals and their behaviour but I also learned about myself and who I wanna become as a person. it was actually the most amazing time in my life. Not only because of the wonderfull, once in a life time experiences but also because I've met amazing people who I gonna remind the rest of my life. I hope I'm gonna be able to return once!
LIEN BASTIAENSSENS - BELGIUM
My name is Lien Bastiaenssens and I did my internship at Lory Park in 2010. To describe my experience in one word: awesome. To get to work with all those stunning animals was just wonderful. It's admirable how Matty and Eddy give you their most precious animals to look after for. It was a true privilege to work with and for them. They gave me a lot of opportunities to do and experience things beyond my imagination: Matty decided to share her handrearing skills with me. I still feel very honored, because trusting the smallest and most fragile members of the zoo to me ment a lot. First I started working with the bigger cubs (caracals, Jupiter the jaguar (still one of the residents, big and fully grown, I used to walk and play with) Charu the North American puma, etc.). Later on I got involved in bottlefeeding the smallest ones, and it didn't take long before I had my own little caracal-kitten, Dudess, to look after for. I nursed/mothered her day and night. Simultaneously I assited Matty on handraering Venus, a jaguar cub. This is only a part of my fantastic experience. I don't have words enough to define how amazing this adventure was. They pick you up into their zoo-family and give you the time of your live. But as it is with all good things , you don't get it just like that. When my internship was completed I remeber me thanking Eddy for all the things he and Matty had done for me and his reply was: “Don't thank me, you made it all possible yourself”.
KIM HILTROP - BELGIUM
When I signed up for my 3 months practical training at lory park in 2005 I didn’t know what I was in for.
I flew out to work with parrots and ended up falling in love with not only the birds and the carnivores but the whole zoo life.
I will never forget “freckles” the cockatoo or any of the other little babies I got to feed and look after. Every moment was to be remembered, even cutting down bamboo for the 2 red pandas, cleaning the duck pond filters or going out with Eddy to fetch “apples” as he called the carcasses to feed the carnivores.
The last month of my training I got to spend more time with the cats and the 2 little lion cubs that were born, this change of animals changed a whole lot more. I decided to come back after my 3 months and ended up staying at the zoo for 3 years.
JANNA LOOT - HOLLAND
In 2009 I did my internship and thesis in Lory Park, as I was a Dutch student at a Belgium university. I very much enjoyed my time there. The work was hard and the days were long. But I got everything I wanted out of my internship. The whole staff, Eddy and Matty became almost like family. I felt very welcome by everyone, and I met so many amazing people. One of which is still one of my closest friends today. I had so many amazing opportunities. I got the work with the animals I loved most; felines, especially smaller felines, like ocelot, caracal and serval. And I got to work close up with small monkeys, like lemurs, marmosets and spider monkeys, a honey badger, bat eared foxes, jackals, meercats and even an otter. But I also learned a lot from the staff about all the other animals in the park of which I at first didn't have an affiliation with, from the birds to the big cats and everything in between. And I challenged myself to learn more about all the creatures at the park and share this information with the other interns and staff.
Together with Eddy and Matty I decided on a subject for my thesis. They wanted to know more about cleft palates in felines and canines. I eventually won several awards with my thesis and it even got published.
For me it was amazing to work so close with the animals, since at Lory Park they work "hands on" with most animals, especially with the young cubs. I even got to help handrear the little cubs, which is a wonderful experience, exhausting, but all worth it!
Besides learning about the animals, I also learned a lot about South Africa, what an amazing country! Very beautiful, and in so many ways very different from home, but not too different so it was quite easy for me to fit in most of the time.
I think it is a good and important experience for young people to go and do a internship abroad, to get to know yourself better, work hard and get more independent.
All in all, my time in Lory Park was a time I will never forget and always cherish.
LONE KRISTENSEN - DENMARK
My experience at lory park zoo.
I was intern at Lory park zoo from 7/8-2014 to 18/12-2014
I was really happy to work there, the people are so sweet and helpful. I did learn a lot and happy to work with the animals.
I was all the around and work with the different animals.
All the people was awesome, when we was working we still can have fun and we can go out after work and get dinner, you gonna make friends.
It's hard work, and long days! But it's worth it all. At the end of the work day, you felling so happy and see all the animals are happy and all you work is done.
I was working lot of the time with the cubs, and then you thinking you sitting with them and petting them all the time, but no! The work are hard and so much work to do and not petting the cubs all the time. You normal say all work are 90% and 10% are pets the animals are training.
I will different say people must try and come and work in Lory park zoo and with the animals it's the best job you can have, I did enjoyed so much