I found this old photo taken at the Auckland Zoo when I was just nine years old. The zoo has changed dramatically since then. No more Chimpanzee tea parties or sad looking lions pacing around in small cages. Seeing this photo brought back memories of the encounters I have had with wildlife that I would never again have the privilege of doing.
- When I was eight I went on a school trip to the Auckland Zoo and sat on the back of an Indian Elephant. His skin was soft to the touch with lots of wrinkles and the hairs on his head tickled my nose. I felt like I was sitting on a high mountain top
- When I was nine my father took me to visit a man who looked after sick birds. The man had a baby Kiwi that had been injured in his burrow by a bulldozer clearing the bush where it lived. I was allowed to hold him. His feathers were like hair and so soft to the touch . He had nostrils and whiskers at the end of his beak. And his feet were big and strong.
- When I was 23 my brother and I went to the Massey Lion Park. Sadly it had closed down but the man who owned it was so pleased we had come to see the lions that we were allowed into the park. Just us and no-one else but the owner. We helped to feed the Lion pride and the two Siberian tigers. The best thing of all...we played with the lion cubs for three wonderful hours. And that above all I hold the most special in my heart.