Name: Jo Giles
Department: Front of House team
Volunteering start date: 27 July 2018 (Open Day Volunteer – 2 days)
29 September 2018 (regular volunteer)
What do you do in your day-to-day life?
I am a PA to the Managing Director of a Refrigeration Company and have been there for almost 13 years.
What made you apply to volunteer at The Big Cat Sanctuary?
I wanted to do something fulfilling with my life, other than just working.
What expertise do you bring to the sanctuary?
Administration, organisational skills and good communication with the public.
Which resident Big Cat Sanctuary cat is your favourite cat and why?
Jack the Jungle Cat – he is the only Jungle Cat I have ever seen – and it took several visits before I even saw him.
What do you enjoy most about your time at The Big Cat Sanctuary?
Being part of a great team and seeing the excitement on customers faces when welcoming them for their encounter or lodge stay. I especially enjoy working 2 days in a row, as I like to see guests through their entire lodge stay experience, from when they arrive to when they leave.
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
Knowing my spare time is a useful contribution to conservation – I would hate to be on the front-line of conservation due to the things you might see, but volunteering at the Big Cat Sanctuary supports others who do undertake this role.
Tell us your most memorable experience at The Big Cat Sanctuary.
Feeling as well as hearing Lions roaring for the first time is really special. Being so close to them, just the other side of a window, whilst they roar is more than just a sound and you can really feel the power.
Tell us something we wouldn’t otherwise know about you.
I am a keen motorsport fan and enjoy events at Brands Hatch such as British Superbikes, British Touring Cars and British Truck Racing.
What is your favourite animal and why?
Elephants – but don’t tell the cats!! I think they are fascinating animals and gentle giants. I could watch them for hours.
For my 40th birthday, I became an Elephant Keeper for the day, which I loved. It was a very busy day and duties included clearing up their enclosure, putting enrichment treats in there and hand feeding some of the younger elephants their breakfast.
What would be your advice to someone who was thinking about volunteering their time?
They must have plenty of spare time available, as I have found volunteering becomes very addictive, but definitely worthwhile.