AN ANIMAL loving Cookley youngster turned zoo keeper when he joined staff at Dudley Zoological Gardens.

Nine-year-old Jamie Griffin, of Castle Road, worked with Brazilian tapirs and Humboldt penguins at the nearby tourist attraction as part of the Little Zoo Keeper for a Day experience.

Wendy Griffin, Jamie’s mother, said: “Jamie absolutely loved it.

“He thought feeding the penguins was hysterical and loved seeing the mannerisms of the tapirs.

“He was also very struck with the zoo keepers and how informative they were, but staff were also impressed with how much Jamie knew about animals and natural history too.”

The experience saw Jamie discover what goes on behind the scenes at Dudley Zoo and throughout the day he helped staff with their daily duties including feeding, cleaning and caring for the collection of animals.

Many of the animals, including Rothschild giraffes, Sumatran tigers, Asiatic lions, red pandas and reptiles are endangered species.

Peter Suddock, chief executive, said: “We introduced Keeper for a Day and Little Zoo Keepers for eight to 13-year-olds as an experience a few years ago and it has proved so successful that staff are kept busy with requests from all over the country.”