It’s no wonder he has become an Instagram sensation.
Zookeeper Chad Staples posts a steady stream of adorable and hilarious images and videos on his account of animals he cares for, from cute koalas and loveable giraffes to majestic rhinos and jaw-dropping lions.
And he has seen his Instagram follower numbers rocket from 62,900 in April 2020 to more than 217,000 today.
Zookeeper Chad Staples feeds one of the rhinos at Mogo Wildlife Park in New South Wales, Australia. Chad has become an Instagram sensation after posting a steady stream of adorable images of the animals he looks after
Chad said: ‘I think the videos and pictures I share resonate with people because they’re so candid and really capture the essence of the animal I’m with and their unique personality’
This incredible image shows a lion called Phoenix, who was born in late 2019 when raging bush fires threatened Mogo Wildlife Park. Chad captioned the picture on Instagram: ‘Look how big my beautiful boy is getting’
On Instagram, Chad joked that this little lion cub was ‘just a little bit milk drunk’
Chad is the managing director of both Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park and Mogo Wildlife Park in New South Wales, Australia, and is responsible for over 2,200 animals across both sites, including more than 30 rare and endangered species.
He started his Instagram account, which chronicles his daily working life, as a way of educating people about wildlife parks, and to show off the animals’ distinct personalities.
Chad, who saved dozens of animals by sheltering them in his house during raging bushfires in late 2019, told MailOnline Travel: ‘I think one of the most important roles of wildlife parks is around education.
‘More and more, people are learning online and on their devices, so platforms like Instagram have been a great way to make connections with people all over the world.
On the left is a mesmerising image that looks deep into the eyes of lioness Zuri. Sadly, just weeks after this image was taken, Zuri died after suffering complications while giving birth to four cubs. Only two of her cubs survived. One the right is one of Mogo Wildlife Park’s Sumatran tigers. Chad said: ‘Every animal has very specific needs and wants and these are always changing day to day’
Chad said he doesn’t have a daily routine – his day is shaped by the needs of the animals he looks after, with him and his team checking in on each one each day. Pictured is mighty lion Baako at Mogo Wildlife Park
On the left is a sweet snap that Chad captioned on Instagram: ‘I can’t get enough of these head smooches from this beautiful boy.’ On the right is a picture that shows what Chad jokes are lion cub Maji’s ‘serious weapons’ developing
‘People have a strong emotional connection with wildlife and nature.
‘I think the videos and pictures I share resonate with people because they’re so candid and really capture the essence of the animal I’m with and their unique personality.
‘I think it’s natural that people are drawn to that kind of content as it makes us all feel more connected to nature.’
Chad said he doesn’t have a daily routine at the wildlife parks – his day is shaped by the needs of the animals he looks after, with him and his team checking in on each one each day.
He explained: ‘Every animal has very specific needs and wants and these are always changing day-to-day.
This heartwarming picture shows Chad embracing Archer the koala on his birthday last year at Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park
On the left, Chad poses for a selfie with young giraffe Twiga. The zookeeper said that one of Twiga’s favourite games is following one of the ducks around their enclosure and added: ‘It’s a beautiful thing to watch.’ Pictured right is a hilarious snap that Chad captioned on Instagram: ‘Now that’s a kissable nose’
A tiny squirrel monkey at Mogo Wildlife Park rests in Chad’s arms. He said his most treasured moments being a zookeeper are being present when an animal is born. He explained: ‘It’s such a joyous occasion and something that never gets old for me’
‘The most important part of my day is getting out into the park. If one of our animals that day has special needs, that will dictate what my day looks like.’
But that’s not to say there are never any unexpected moments for Chad while carrying out his job.
He added: ‘I think every animal can misbehave in their own way and it’s often playful behaviour that they exhibit.
‘Animals are so intelligent and can have the biggest personalities, like our gorillas, who love teasing and playing and interacting in fun ways with their keepers all the time.
Chad said: ‘I think every animal can misbehave in their own way and it’s often playful behaviour that they exhibit.’ Pictured is rhino Kai at Mogo Wildlife Park
This adorable image shows a young quokka – a type of marsupial similar to a small wallaby – at Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park. Chad captioned it on Instagram: ‘Just when you thought a quokka couldn’t get any cuter, a new little one emerges from the pouch’
‘There are always funny moments, but one recently that I can recall was with Twiga, one of our baby giraffes who is around six months old.
‘His new favourite game is following a duck that likes to spend time in the watering hole in their enclosure – it’s a beautiful thing to watch.’
And Chad’s most treasured moment as a zookeeper?
‘I’m always amazed at births, it’s such a joyous occasion and something that never gets old for me,’ he said.
‘I love being able to be present every time new life comes into the world and I’ve been fortunate to see some of the tiniest babies being born, like a koala joey, to being metres away watching a giraffe give birth.’
- To see more of Chad’s pictures and videos, visit his Instagram page @zookeeper_chad.