The Tales of Tony

by | May 31, 2023 | Watatunga Blog

At the beginning of the season, we welcomed 5 new volunteers to the team. Each with their own incredible backstories and interests.

Meet Tony, an ex-services veteran who you will find on tour on a Wednesday. Having served 22 years in the RAF, Tony was looking for a something to keep his days structured but with purpose. Whilst in the RAF, Tony competed in various horse events as part of his station’s team, leading to him owning his own horse, where in later life he would pass this passion down to his daughter. He is also a qualified scuba diving trainer! Throughout his life, Tony has never strayed too far from wildlife! With a passion for photography too, Tony was a perfect fit for Watatunga!

We couldn’t think of a better way to introduce him than to show off some of his photos and get his take on what it’s like to volunteer at Watatunga. Here’s what he said:

How did you hear about volunteering at Watatunga?
After attending one of your tours and really enjoying the experience I followed your page on Facebook. My wife spotted your advert asking for volunteers and pointed it out to me as she felt it would really suit me and could’ve been written for me. I am ex forces and like structure and the advert really resonated this so I applied as I really wanted to work with animals.

What are your hobbies and interests? Do they relate to your role at Watatunga?
I exercise regularly and like to parkrun weekly; this does help me at Watatunga as it’s a physical day when I volunteer. I dabble with photography and particularly like to capture animals if I can. I hope I can develop my photography at Watatunga. I really enjoy being outdoors and enjoy walking with my wife just enjoying the natural beauty that is at our fingertips.

Javan Peacock by Tony
Bar Headed Goose by Tony

We know you’re a keen photographer and you’ve come back from a few tours now with some amazing photos – what has been your favourite species to photograph?
My favourite species to photograph is the Eland – he is very majestic and a poser so I guess easy to photograph. I like Dave and love to get an action shot of him strutting his stuff! I really like all the animals as they are all individual characters.

What is your favourite thing about volunteering at Watatunga? Did you expect the role to be what it is?
My favourite things about volunteering at Watatunga (and this is in no particular order) are having a structure to my day (ex-forces instils this into you), being outdoors all day, meeting people, seeing the animals in their natural habitat at different times of the day, tidying up (ex-forces again), keeping the vehicles clean and tidy and in working order. I feel fulfilled at the end of my volunteering day and the people I work with are great.

Eland by Tony
Nilgai by Tony

Would you recommend volunteering at Watatunga?

Great Bustard by Tony

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