Lisa Ridley: Keeper, Primates

Lisa has worked as a primate keeper at Taronga Zoo for the last seven years. During this time she has taken the time to volunteer on several occasions at the Bushmeat orphan sanctuary in Cameroon, Africa where she has assisted in the care of orphaned young Gorillas and Chimpanzees whose parents were poached for the bushmeat trade. 

She has also worked in a keeper exchange program at Paignton Zoo in the UK, gaining further experience working with great apes, Black Rhinos and various big cat species.

As a keeper Lisa makes no secret of who her favourites are to work with.  She is most passionate about Gorillas or the gentle giants as she puts it and there’s one fellow in particular that she has an especially close relationship with.  His name is Fuzu, he is a 4 year old infant gorilla who Lisa was lucky enough to witness taking his first breaths of life.  Since then they have formed a special bond that is obvious through their playful antics.

Although Lisa has had many highlights in her work, she says being given the rare opportunity to hand rear an orphaned chimpanzee in Africa was one of the best and most rewarding.

“Being given the opportunity to give something back and give a chimpanzee a second chance at life is so special.  I love my job everyday I’m able to work with such magnificent animals in a close capacity and with people that have the same passion to help conserve wildlife and educate others.”