It takes a particularly special person to take on the important responsibility of overseeing the animals in a wildlife conservation centre such as HESC.
Our followers often hear us talk of Linri, our head curator, so we thought we would tell you a little more about her, and what her responsibilities are at HESC.
Linri’s career at HESC started in 2015, four years ago, but she has held the position of head curator since August 2017.
The responsibilities of a head curator include checking the animals on a daily basis to ensure they are in a healthy condition and arranging treatment of any conditions that she may detect. Therefore, Linri works very closely with our wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Peger Rogers, assisting with procedures and vaccinations of the animals too. She also monitors animals post-treatment and updates our vet on their progress too.

Linri feeding rhinos at HESC

Further to that, Linri other duties include overseeing the feeding of the animals, their daily fresh water supplies and cleanliness of each animals areas or pieces of land.
Linri’s day starts promptly at 6 AM each morning, with bottles of milk formula ready to feed the elephant calves and rhinos. From there she does a check up on all the animals at HESC, which entails driving through all the pieces of land, to ensure there are no animals with any injuries or sickness.
Linri during feeding hours

From there she enjoys a quick coffee break before the real work begins, including feedings, cleaning as well as the office administration.
The day may end at 5 PM, but we also share night duty shifts with orphan animals that need feedings every three hours.
We asked Linri a few questions:
Q: Have you always wanted to work with animals? 
A: Yes, since I was a little girl, I have loved animals dearly and growing up on a family friends farm, I knew that one day I would be a farm girl. I could not bear to see an animal hurt or alone and was always nursing sick animals
Q: What has been the most memorable or happiest day for you at HESC?
A: The day I saw Shawu join the Camp Jabulani herd, and to see how happy he was. My heart burst with pride knowing that for the last two years of his life, I helped him get to that point, and finally my baby boy had grown up.
Linri with Shawu

Q: What has been the saddest day for you at HESC?
A: It is never easy seeing one of the animals you have helped raise pass away, and having to push back the tears as you know there are so many other animals at the centre that still need you to stay strong. But the day Shawu passed away a small piece of my heart went with him. A part of me died with him.
It is never easy to pick yourself up after a heartbreak like that, but seeing the next day the excitement of Esme and David seeing us for the first time in the morning, and Bokkie Bok running up to the fence to greet us, or the rest of the rhinos running excitedly to the car awaiting their morning feed or the purr of a cheetah happy to see us makes it all worth the while to stand up and continue the days work.

Q: What do you love most about working at HESC?
A: Being able to work for HESC is a huge privilege and honor. To have the opportunity to work so closely with so many different species of animals is fantastic. Although they are not my animals, I still love every one of them as if they are my own.
Q: What is your favourite part of the day?
A: Being able to see the most amazing sunrises and sunsets. Waking up every day knowing I will be able to work with the animals that I love and being excited to see them, and knowing that when the sun sets, it will start all over again the next day.

LInri with her team members Jaco and Juandrey

We are extremely grateful to Linri for her incredible dedication to the animals of HESC, and the amount of hard work she puts into her job every day.
The HESC Team