Taylor Lalchere 

Having grown up in the Blue Mountains, I've always been surrounded by animals and nature. Whether that was family pets (ducks that chased me to the house, parrots, rabbits, dogs and cats) or feeding the wildlife which came to visit. I've always been able to hear the birds or possums day and night. Ever since I can remember, I've known my calling was with animals, but it took me a while to find which direction my path was leading me.

In 2015 I started my Cert II Animal Studies through Taronga Training Institute. I used the course as a way to find experience to decide what animal care career path to follow and ended up doing work experience at different veterinary clinics which didn't align with my values of animal care and love, this made me realise what I valued most.

So it was decided, I wanted to be a zoo keeper. I had the Cert III Captive Animals at Taronga Zoo in my sights and I was ready to apply. Before intake though, I ended up deciding to study veterinary nursing as a back-up. I spent 2 years studying both courses and found my feet again. Luckily, I did work placement at a veterinary clinic in the Blue Mountains. I loved how they treated animals as their own pets, and I found myself thriving, leaving each day with a full heart knowing I was helping animals.

Screenshot_2017-10-01-17-23-55I had an incredible experience at Taronga Zoo. I worked with exotic animals, farm and native wildlife and found an interest in training and enrichment. My jobs at the zoo included feeding injured green sea turtles which were to be re-released, watching gorilla and giraffe training, enriching small clawed otters and watching meerkat pups, to name a few. It was there that I found a deep-rooted love for the medical care of our native wildlife and signed up to be a WIRES carer in October 2018.

During my time studying and training in the Blue Mountains, I came across a 6 month old black and white sweet heart cat. Her previous owner had left her on the streets when he moved to a new house, and a stranger brought her into the clinic. I fell in love with her instantly, convinced she was my soul cat. She purred as soon as you opened the door to where she was staying and flopped on any part of your body just for cuddles. I adopted her as soon as I could and named her Neytiri (Tiri for short.. Not that she answers to it). After a few months she stopped being the sweet heart I knew and turned into your regular sassy cat. Even though she's a madam, we're still inseparable. 

Most days you'll find me cuddled up with Tiri, reading a book and drinking tea. On weekends I'm often out adventuring amongst nature, or out at festivals listening to music and dancing in the sun and wind.

But no matter what I'm doing, I'll always be drawn to mother nature and the animals that come with her.