Home' LOTL : NovDec 15 Contents CELEBRATING 25 YEARS
Helena Posterino, one of the volunteer animal keepers at Zambi, shared with LOTL
a few of her experiences while working at Zambi, her interest in animal conservation,
and weighed in on what she believes are the most popular animals among lesbians.
16 Lesbians On The Loose Magazine • lotl.com
When did your love for animals begin?
I always loved animals, but totally assumed
everyone else loved them to the same
extent that I did. It wasn’t until I went over
to Europe that I realized I might be a little
more into them than my fellow travelers. I
had planned on staying in Europe for about
9 months but after 4, I left my friends to
volunteer on a small hobby farm in France in
order to get back with some animals. From
France I had just enough money to book
an impromptu ticket to Bolivia for the sole
purpose of volunteering at an exotic animal
refuge I had read about. I intended to stay 3
months at the refuge but ended up staying
a year. It was the first time I had been 100%
immersed in any kind of animal rehabilita-
tion or felt any certainty regarding my future
Do you have a favourite animal to inter-
act with at Zambi Wildlife?
Probably my colleagues! No... we have a
small crab eating macaque called Lewy. His
mother died from a rare stomach bacteria
when he was six months old, and after
unsuccessfully attempting to adopt him out
to another maternal macaque at Zambi he
ended up having to be hand raised. He is
roughly 18 months now and loads of fun. He
leads a life of reckless curiosity and it is such
a joy to observe and interact with him as you
see him unlock more of his world.
If you were to be reborn as an animal,
what animal would you be?
Not the first time I’ve thought about this! It
is a toss-up between a beautiful, wild gorilla
living out it’s days peacefully in the heart of
Africa, surrounded by all his ladies – or one
of Ellen Degeneres’ dogs. Both seem like
lifestyles of great stature and I would have
no qualms coming back as either.
What’s the most extraordinary rescue
you have seen or been involved with
while at Zambi?
It would be when one of our tigers, Meeka,
punctured her lung cavity. Still to this day no
one knows how she did it as nothing was ever
found in her enclosure, it was just such a freak
accident. One moment she was fine then
the next she wasn’t. The keepers noticed she
wasn’t breathing normally and then alerted
Donna, who was able to enter the enclosure
with Meeka to have a closer look. Once realis-
ing the severity of Meeka’s state, Donna was
able to walk Meeka into a newly donated van
(by Kyle Sandilands) sans sedation (which is a
feat in itself) and transport her to a vet clinic
where she underwent emergency surgery.
Once back at the refuge Meeka essentially re-
ceived 24 hour around the clock care until she
recovered. It’s experiences like this that remind
you of what a privilege it is to work amongst
such dedicated and competent keepers, and
to be mentored by someone as experienced
and able as Donna.
Are there any animals/species you are
I probably wouldn’t use the word terrified.
Part of the beauty of exotic animals especially
is that they are unpredictable and wild. You
want them this way. This is them at their most
natural and finest. Respecting the inherent
and innate qualities each individual animal
will bring forth, is pivotal in working with them
and also a treat to observe. Terror was asking
my girlfriend out. If I felt those kinds of nerves
when working with animals then I would for
sure not be working in this industry.
What do you see as your greatest accom-
plishment since joining the Zambi team?
I would actually say my biggest accomplish-
ment is joining the Zambi team itself. Everyone
VOLUNTEERS DANNI, JESS & SARAH
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