Perth Zoo volunteer says role is one the most rewarding aspects of her life


Ms Sullivan leads visitors on a close encounter with male giraffe Armani.
Ms Sullivan leads visitors on a close encounter with male giraffe Armani.

ADDICTIVE, inspirational and rewarding are just some of the words that came to mind when Marsha Sullivan reflected on her volunteering ventures with Perth Zoo.

Having been involved with zoos for more than 14 years, Ms Sullivan said being a Perth Zoo docent was one of the most rewarding aspects of her life.

“There’s a great serenity here at the zoo, you walk in and leave all your problems behind,” she said.

“You can get involved in all sorts of things; it really gets under your skin.”

Each year the zoo holds an information session and 10-week training program for interested people to join the zoo family and become a docent.

Ms Sullivan said at the end of the training, participants would be armed and ready to give guided tours, informative talks and more.

“Primarily we’re guides, and we’ve got about 30 docent teams that do different things,” Ms Sullivan said.

“There’s a team that make behavioural enrichment things for the animals and go and throw ice blocks to the orang-utans.

“My favourite are the elephants; I do a talk on them and I think I could talk for hours about them.”

While docents are not directly involved with the animals, the team – currently about 340 volunteers – are still privy to a number of benefits.

“You can get involved with all the spin-off things, I’ve been to Borneo twice with The Orangutan Project and last year I went to Africa with one of Perth Zoo’s curators to see the painted dogs,” Ms Sullivan said.

“Plus every day we go all around the zoo to each part; one of our close encounter duties is to take people up to feed the giraffes.”

Perth Zoo will hold the free information session for interested people aged 18 and over this Saturday, April 2 from 10am.

Register here.