Our Volunteers - Pearl's Story
Zoos Victoria is proud to care for many animal families including Lions, Giraffe, Zebra and Gorillas. These animals are not only loved by the community, they also play an important role as ambassadors for their wild cousins. Many of whom are threatened with extinction in the wild because of human actions.
Pearl Searle has been a Zoos Victoria volunteer for more than 30 years. She spends much of her time making enrichment items to inspire and stimulate animals at Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Zoo. Pearle is just one of 600 volunteers who spend hundreds of hours each week caring for the Zoo animal and visitor family. This is her story…
Pearle has hundreds of memories about volunteering at Zoos Victoria but the one that really sticks out is the time that she gave a very special surprise to Rigo, Melbourne Zoo’s Silverback Western Lowland Gorilla (1973 – 2013).
“When dear old Rigo was here we got to set up his night den once. We called it the Hanging Garden of Babylon and we had all of his browse set up and we made him a special pillow for his hammock. It was fun! Rigo was very special.”*
Pearl’s work is vital in keeping our Gorilla families at Melbourne and Werribee Open Range Zoo happy, healthy and stimulated, while these animals also perform a very important role: engaging our visitors in They’re Calling on You, Zoos Victoria's mobile phone recycling campaign that helps save their wild cousins in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
*Browse is vegetation such as leaves, plants and branches that the animals like to eat.