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The full Exotic Explorers team

The Human Team

Set up by professional Zoo Keepers who met while working at Tropical Wings Zoo. After its very sad closure in December of 2017, Exotic Explorers was set up to continue to spread passion for animal welfare and education.

Exotic Explorers is a limited company registered with companies house. We hold public liability insurance with £5million of cover. We hold an Animal Activities Licence (22/00011/LIANI) (previously 19/00064/LIANI), which from the 1st April 2019 is a legal requirement under the Animal Welfare Act (licensing of activities involving animals, England Regulations 2018).

All of our team are DBS checked and first aid trained. We have no animals that require a DWA (Dangerous Wild Animal Licence) and all our animals have their appropriate paperwork where necessary, A10 Certificates under CITES (Convention for the International Trade of Endangered Species).

The company has over 20 years of professional animal care experience as well as years of personal animal keeping. We have a wealth of knowledge and enjoy nothing more than passing on our experiences to others and inspiring a new generation to love and respect our wonderful natural world.

Company director, Ben, with a large snake

Ben
Founding Director

Ben has always had a love of animals and his passion started at the age of 7 when he got his first Hamster.

Ben holds a BSc Honours degree in Veterinary Science which he obtained from the Royal Veterinary College. During his working life Ben has had a number of different jobs within the animal sector, including store and livestock manager at a pet company, an exotic animal keeper and party presenter at animal sanctuaries, and a Tropical, Mammal and Bird Keeper in Zoological institutions.

At Tropical Wings Zoo, Ben was one of the Senior Bird Keepers and enjoyed nothing more than presenting and training the animals in front of an excited crowd.

Ben's specialities include birds, reptiles and invertebrates. Now through Exotic Explorers Ben hopes to continue to inspire younger and older people alike showing them just how amazing animals are.

Animal manager, Puri, with a striped skunk

Puri
Director & Head Trainer

Puri has loved being around animals since the moment she was born and shared her cot with her parents’ dog.

Puri is a veterinary assistant and also has a certificate in environmental enrichment. She has worked with animals since the age of 16, starting in Mundomar Benidorm (Spain) as a Bird Keeper and Trainer where she worked for 9 years. After that she was the sole person responsible for a parrot breeding center and also a Senior Keeper and Head Trainer in Tropical Wings Zoo.

After the zoo closure she created her own company as a pet sitter and trainer until 2020 when she joined Ben at Exotic Explorers.

Puri's speciality are birds but she also trains other animals such as mammals and some reptiles. She is an experienced presenter and is always trying to learn more things about her animals, not only to share it later with all of you but also to pass on her love and admiration for animals.

Animal Carer, Nathan, with an owl

Nathan
Animal Carer & Presenter

Nathan has grown up surrounded by the scouting community. Most of his family is involved, and he himself is now a scout leader. This has given him exceptional people skills, which are an asset to the team. He enjoys many outdoor activities and is a natural with animals.

Nathan joined the team to finally follow his passion of working with animals. He currently has 3 cats and wants to get into keeping reptiles himself. He is an amazing help with enclosure maintenance, as he studied practical building skills at college.

Senior Animal Carer, Carol, with a white-faced owl

Carol
Senior Animal Carer & Presenter

Carol is invaluable to the Exotic Explorers team, spending most of her time preparing food for both the animal and human teams. She is great at helping socialise our team and get them ready for a busy life of education and experiences.

She is a confident presenter with a wealth of animal knowledge, and is also Ben's Mum. She is probably the main reason Exotic Explorers exists having always encouraged Ben’s passion for animals and pushed him to learn more and get more experience.

Animal Carer, Brian, with a harris hawk

Brian
Animal Carer & Maintenance

Brian is a massive help to the Exotic Explorers team, he spends most of his time helping to care for the animals and also repair and maintain any enclosures.

Brian is also Ben’s dad and has always supported his animal journey.

Our Marketing Manager, Mike, with a Chinese Water Dragon on his shoulder

Mike
Marketing Manager & Tech Support

Mike is the Marketing Manager and Technical Support guru at Exotic Explorers. He is Puri's other half and our resident tech expert. Mike is the mastermind behind our marketing campaigns and design elements, and he built our website from scratch. Mike is also excellent at photography and many of our amazing animal photos have been taken by him.

While the rest of us "animal people" might get a bit overwhelmed with technology, Mike makes it all look easy. He's honed his technical skills over the years, and you'll often spot him multitasking with a bunch of computer screens or venturing out into nature for a walk while listening to his favourite podcast.

Part-Time Animal Carer, Heidi, with a hedgehog

Heidi
Part-Time Animal Carer & Presenter

Heidi is Ben’s niece and has grown up around animals. She now helps the team at weekends and is great at problem-solving activities. Heidi is currently studying for her A-levels in law, maths, and psychology.

Our Lead Volunteer Julie, with an owl

Julie
Lead Volunteer

Julie is a massive help to the team. She is a natural with animals and always wished she had been able to pursue a career with animals when she was younger.

With a background in horses, she gained qualifications in riding and stable management, and she still has a passion for horses. She is also a qualified dog trainer, and that's where she met Ben, when she helped train his Weimaraner, Sanza. Julie loves getting her animal fix when helping out at events, and when she's at home, she loves spending time with her own small collection of animals, including cockatiels, a hamster, a bunny, and a snake.

Volunteer Ruth holding a lizard Volunteer Justyna holding a Giant African Bull Frog Volunteer Montana holding a large snake Volunteer Megan holding an owl

Volunteers

We have a dedicated team of volunteers who are always happy to help out with displays, cleaning, maintenance and more.

We are occasionally on the lookout for more volunteers to help us, so please let us know if you are interested and we'll be in touch!

1 Kensington Road
Pilgrim's Hatch
Brentwood
Essex
CM15 9LG

Ben: 07877 701461
Puri: 07561 074340
Email: info@exoticexplorers.co.uk

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