Our longest serving Zoo Keeper is retiring after a record 51 years.

Keeper Murray's Retirement gathering

L-R: Karen Fifield, Murray Roberts, Mauritz Basson and Jo Richardson

Murray Roberts is our longest serving Zoo Keeper, and has retired after 51 years - but it’s not the end.

“Murray has been with us since 1965 and has seen our Zoo change dramatically over the years,” says Karen Fifield, Chief Executive. “Murray has a natural way with animals, and has provided excellent care for so many of them during his time here. He has loved his job here, and always brings a positive joy with him into the Zoo.”

“Murray has also been a valued mentor and source of advice to our younger Zoo staff, there is not much he hasn’t seen in his time as a Zoo Keeper. He also has a wealth of stories about the Zoo’s history that he has always been happy to share with his colleagues.”

murray meerkats

Keeper Murray with two Meerkats

Murray has worked across all sections of the Zoo, from primates to carnivores and everywhere in between. In 1970, he began working with the elephants and cared for the much-loved Kamala. With a great photographic eye, he has also built up an impressive portfolio of images to showcase the animals that have inspired his passion for wildlife.

“Five years ago, I said I didn’t dare to think about the day that Murray would leave,” says Karen. “However, I still won’t – while he has retired from being a regular staff member Murray has chosen to continue working with us as a casual Zoo Keeper. It’s great to know that he will still be coming in to continue his legacy of amazing care for the animals, and to continue being part of our Zoo team.”

Murray with Kamala the Elephant

Murray with Kamala the Elephant

We held a special afternoon tea with all our Zoo staff to celebrate Murray’s achievements and contribution.