We wouldn’t be the Zoo without our incredible volunteer Docents!

Perth Zoo is lucky to have a big community of dedicated Docents who come from all walks of life.

And despite all their differences, one thing that unites every Docent is their unwavering passion for Perth Zoo and wildlife beyond our gates. 

We recently asked some of our longest standing Docents, and one of our newest, to share why they love volunteering. 

Henny Bloor

Over her decades as a Docent, Henny has had the rare and privileged task of walking the dingos first thing in the morning.

She’s greeted with howls and licks from Daku (and previously his sister, Mirri, too who sadly passed away this year) before walking around the beautiful Zoo gardens.

“I met dingos Daku and Mirri when they arrived at Perth Zoo at just seven weeks of age, and have been involved with their training, socialisation and walks from the very beginning.

“It has been very rewarding and a special experience to have been accepted as part of their pack.

“My 25 years of volunteering has flown by, I’ve seen so many changes over my 25 years, and it has been a pleasure as I feel I’ve gained so much more than I’ve given.”

Margaret Flecker

Every Tuesday for 25 years, Margaret has thoroughly enjoyed coming to the Zoo, helping visitors have their own magic moments with wildlife.

Margaret has many fond memories of powerful interactions with visitors, with one particular tour through the Australian Bush Walk sticking in her mind.

“I remember having a family visiting from Singapore, and the emus were up close and chatting, there were kangaroos everywhere, echidnas were waddling around, wallabies hopped by, three Quokkas were out and about and even the numbat was running around.
“It was such a fun tour for them and for me, and it still brings a smile to my face every time I think of it.”

Erin Fraser

Among some of Erin’s favourite memories include being ‘mooned’ by a Sumatran Orangutan and being interrupted during a talk by a flatulent rhino!

And while these hilarious moments are special and memorable, it’s the opportunity to share her passion with others that brings her back every year.

“I love the opportunity to talk to visitors and tell stories that will help them make a connection to wildlife, it is great to see the joy in people’s faces when they come eye-to-eye with an elephant or rhino.
“Hopefully that connection to an animal will lead to their involvement in wildlife conservation someday.”

Pauline Hansen

Since childhood, Pauline had a keen interest in the world around her, so becoming a Zoo Docent seemed liked a natural fit. In 1996, she responded to a newspaper advertisement to join, and the rest is history.

“I’ve been at the Zoo for 27 years and have been very privileged to be involved in special activities like dingo walking, primate gardening, pool cleaning for primates, ice-block making for enrichment and much more.

“For me, being a Docent is about encouraging a passion for wildlife and for conservation of all species.
"The unanticipated benefit for me has been how much it has been, and continues to be, a very enriching personal experience.”

Anne Mercer

Anne is one of our newer Docents, but like many others, she always looks forward to her days at the Zoo and finds ways to inspire the visitors she meets.

“Every day is different and you never know who you will meet, what information you will learn or what little seed of inspiration you will plant in someone.

“I love sharing what the Zoo is doing for conservation, and I hope to share that passion with visitors to encourage their questions, learnings and make a change.
“I wanted to be part of a dedicated and positive team environment that provided quality training and encouraged learning, and being a Docent provides both – it’s a wonderful combination.”

Cathy Reeves

For Cathy, being a Docent means being surrounded by like-minded people all united in sharing incredible stories with the public.

“Being a Docent is about being part of a very social, inspiring, interesting and fun group of people - we are all very different but united in wanting to share our knowledge and stories.

“I have so many memorable moments at Perth Zoo it’s hard to pick just one!
“But joining the Docent dingo team has been one of the many highlights and getting to walk the dingos has brought a lot of happiness to me as well as many visitors.”

Linda Shone

Now in her 26th year, Linda still gets a kick out discovering what’s new in the Zoo every day – whether that’s any new animal arrivals, successful breeding outcomes or new behavioural enrichment activities to prepare.

“I love my role preparing enrichment for elephants and giraffes, and also nutrition enrichment role where I get to prepare food for the orangutans, primates and other species.

“What brings me back year on year is the visitor interactions, I really enjoy preparing to meet and greet visitors to answer their questions, provide information about our fauna and flora and of course, discussing the Zoo’s important conservation mission.

“Being part of the Zoo team is the best, and we all work together to give our visitors a day they will enjoy and remember forever.

Pauline Starkey

Pauline retired as a school principal in 1995, but decided her dedication to education was not finished.

“I saw the Zoo as a way of continuing my interest in education, and now I’ve been a Docent for 27 years and it’s still a huge positive in my life.

“I’ve seen many changes and had the chance to enjoy some very special moments – like seeing a baby giraffe enjoy browse, getting up-close to watch male elephant Putra Mas do his daily training, and of course, every interaction with Tricia.
“I look forward to every rostered day for the friendships I’ve developed, the wonderful animals and zoo environment, and for the opportunity to interact with visitors when they see an animal for the first time of learn something new.”