Meet the 22-year-old who has dream job as an animal ranger

22-year-old Izzy Macfarlane in an animal enclosure with two tapirs

22-year-old Izzy Macfarlane is an animal ranger at Jimmy's Farm in Ipswich - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Working with animals is considered many people's dream job and for Ipswich's most exotic creatures they are in good hands under the care of a 22-year-old ranger.

Izzy Macfarlane has worked at Jimmy’s Farm for five years up working up close with animals every day as an animal ranger.

She is in charge of the bottom section of the park which sees her looking after barbary macaques, coatis, emus, Morelet's crocodiles, snakes, lizards and tortoises - to name just a few. 

A photo of a coati which is closely related to the raccoon

A coati is closely related to the raccoon - Credit: Charlotte Bond

It’s her job to check on the animals, feed them, clean out their enclosures and start to rehabilitate some of the animals that haven’t had a great start in life.  

She is currently working with the farm's newly arrived lemurs and barbary macaques who hadn’t been looked after very well by their previous owners.

One particular monkey called Adao had been found roaming the streets of Portugal after his owner didn’t know how to take care of him properly. 

She said: “Our group [of monkeys] at the moment are quite endangered and it’s the fact that they’ve been taken from their homes, sold on the pet trade and we’re just trying to make people aware of that.   

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“We’re trying to help Adao out because we think he was mistreated in the past and we’re hoping we can show him some natural behaviours.  If we just get a small amount of progress, it just makes you feel so much better because that animal trusts me. 

“I had never worked with primates before so it’s quite nice learning it."

Izzy feeding a lemur in an enclosure

Izzy helps to rehabilitate the two species of lemurs at the park and barbary macaques - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Izzy started at Jimmy's Farm as an apprentice at 17. But during her time studying for her animal management course, she struggled with the academic side due to her dyslexia.

However, she never let that stop her, achieving her level three apprenticeship and now working full-time at the park. 

“I knew I struggled to read and write but you don’t give up. At the end of the day, I’m talking to people, they don’t have to see how I write. Just because I’ve been told I have this doesn’t mean I can’t do something.” 

Izzy feeding the crocodiles through a cage

Izzy feeding the crocodiles - Credit: Charlotte Bond

For other young people looking to work with animals, Izzy says don’t give up and find as much work experience as possible. 

If you are a young person with an interesting career or hobby and would like to share your story email 

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