As a mammal curator, I am responsible for the mammal collection of ZOO Antwerp and ZOO Planckendael. In close cooperation with the animal care coordinators, I strive to accommodate the mammals that reside with us in a way that is in line with the most recent insights. This entails the development of new accommodations, in consultation with the other departments of ZOO Antwerp and ZOO Planckendael.
To ensure a relevant and sustainable mammal collection I work together with international colleagues in various areas. One of the aspects is the exchange of ideas and knowledge about mammal keeping and the optimization of techniques in that area. I am also responsible for exchanges with other zoos to keep the populations at the desired level. For many animal species under my jurisdiction, this means participating in breeding programs.
The purpose of keeping animals in zoos is conservation of the species and conservation education. To achieve this goal we need genetically and demographically healthy animal populations. As a mammal curator, I represent ZOO Antwerp and ZOO Planckendael within the mammal breeding programs that we have in our collection.
In 2007 I obtained the Bachelor Agro-and Biotechnology, specialization animal care, at the HOGENT. During my training I did an internship in ZOO Antwerp with the elephants and giraffes. Later I did an internship with the primates of Diergaarde Blijdorp in Rotterdam. My thesis studied behavioral research on stereotyped regurgitation in the western lowland gorilla. In July 2007 I started working as a caretaker in ZOO Antwerp. First with the elephants and giraffes, then a few months with the penguins and birds of prey. From 2008 to the end of 2013 I worked with the great apes (gorillas and chimpanzees). Afterwards I became animal care coordinator. I led the Cluster 3 teams: Great Apes, Temple Ungulates and Quarantine. In 2020 I started as a curator for mammals.