Natasha assists Head Curator Linri Janse van Rensburg in caring for the animals at HESC. This may sound simple, but considering that we have so many different species of different ages and with different needs, it is more complex than one thinks.
She checks on all the animals daily, assists with feeding them and providing water and makes sure that they are healthy and well. By detecting a problem early on and arranging veterinarian treatment if necessary, health problems can mostly be prevented and the wellbeing of our animals maintained.
Her working day starts at 06:00, or earlier if there is a baby animal being bottle fed. But because her favourite time of day is sunrise, this is no problem to her.
Like many jobs, Natasha’s position entails more than the responsibilities listed in her job description. She is a keen photographer and many of the videos and photographs that we post on our social media platforms come from her. She has a good eye for composition (probably a trait developed in her graphic design years prior to joining us) and always does her utmost to capture that aspect that we want to highlight in a post … which is of course far easier said than done.
Snapping Shelly’s lively cubs with the sun shining on them from just the right angle and making sure that all three are in the picture, is no easy task. And best of all she does it with such good grace, every time and for every animal that we want to feature!
But let’s hear from Natasha herself.
- How long have you been at HESC and how did you end up here?
I have been working at HESC for about 4 and half years now. I was looking for a job in the bush, working with animals, when I was recruited for the front office position. Here I gained valuable insight into what HESC is all about and why tourists come to visit us.
- What attracted you to HESC
My mom was the first of our family to visit here and spoke so highly of the Centre. On researching HESC, I was equally taken by the work done here and immediately knew I wanted to be part of this amazing team. I had been raised to love and care for animals and ever since I can remember have wanted to work with them.
- What aspect of your job do you enjoy most / what is your passion?
My passion is animals, all animals, but if I had to choose one aspect it would probably be the babies and seeing them grow up. Every one that I have worked with has a special place in my heart. I remember my first rhino night duty when Nhlanhla came to us in early 2016 as a one-week-old little one because his mother didn’t have milk for him. He weighed only 40 kg. I stayed up all night with the then head curator to feed him every couple of hours … and look at him now: a healthy, beautiful, spirited bull!
Another aspect of my work that I really love is when we release rehabilitated animals back into the wild. It’s such a sense of accomplishment.
- Which animals do you enjoy most?
It is difficult for me to choose, but if I must it will be rhinos and elephants. Much as I love all rhinos, Esme, as the first rhino calf that I worked with as a curator, will always be my number one. I also love working with Mopani and soon learnt that an elephant needs more attention and time than rhinos do.
- What would you like to achieve at HESC?
I believe I have already achieved so much, mainly in terms of what I have learnt and experienced. Every day I learn something new. My sense of fulfilment is directly linked to what I learn and I hope I never stop learning. Working with my amazing colleagues, like Linri and our owner Mrs Lente Roode, work just never seems like work – it is pure pleasure!
- What are your aspirations for the future?
I have grown so much as a person since I started at HESC and my aspiration is that I never stop growing and learning.
From all of us at HESC; thank you for your wonderful contribution to the smooth running of our Centre Natasha!