Student To Take Up Work Placement In African Bush

Fri, 27/04/2001 - 01:00

A talented college student will soon be jetting off to take up her place on a coveted work placement at a private game reserve in Africa.

Kimberly Carr, aged 43, from Cramlington in Northumberland, has just secured the work placement through a scheme run by Colchester Zoo at their UmPhafa private nature reserve in KwaZulu Natal in South Africa.

Kim is in her second year at East Durham College’s Houghall Campus studying on an Animal Management Diploma and will spend 4 weeks at 4,500 hectare nature reserve.

UmPhafa provides a haven for a huge range of species of mammals, birds and reptiles including Zebra, Giraffe, Red Hartebeest, Blesbok, Waterbuck, Common Reedbuck, African Rock Pythons, Nyala, Leopard Tortoises, Impala, Blue Wildebeest and three White Rhino.

Mature student Kim had originally trained as a hairdresser when she left school and then went on to work for over 10 years as cabin crew with airline giant KLM, but animals were always her passion.

Kim said: “I never felt truly satisfied in my previous jobs. I had always liked animals and had loads of different pets. So I registered as a 24-hour volunteer with my local vets to care for poorly animals overnight at home. They suggested I consider taking an animal care course at Houghall and I have never looked back. I have definitely found my true vocation in life.

“This opportunity to work in South Africa is amazing, just brilliant, talk about once in a lifetime experience. I can’t wait to get over there.”

John Reid, Head of Animal Care at Houghall, added: “Kim is an exceptional student who achieved a distinction grade in each of her Year 1 modules and is on target to achieve the same ‘gold standard’ in Year 2. Kim excels in both practical and theory work and has a very positive influence on the younger students. Kim thoroughly deserves this fantastic opportunity.”

Rebecca Perry, Director of Conservation, Education and Research, added: “Colchester Zoo cares passionately about the world's threatened species and so created its charitable arm Action for the Wild. The Charitable Trust is dedicated to assisting conservation projects worldwide, such as the UmPhafa Nature Reserve.

“Kim impressed us at her interview, due to her general enthusiasm for wildlife and her focus on her career change. We are sure her placement on UmPhafa will be very fulfilling for her and confirm her aspirations to work with wildlife.”

As well as attending college 3 days a week Kim also does a work placement at Orchard House Veterinary Centre in Hexham.

After finishing her studies at Houghall Kim hopes to either go on to become a veterinary nurse or may go on to university to study Zoology with a focus on animal conservation and see where that takes her.