Meet the team: Allan Muir, Head of Veterinary Services
Allan leads our expert team of vets who are responsible for the care and welfare of our animals, both here in Jersey and at our rewilding sites across the globe. Allan joined us from the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), where he was responsible for the development and implementation of animal health policy across their membership of 400+ zoos, in 47 countries.
What sparked your passion for wildlife?
I have so many amazing early memories of visiting both Glasgow and Edinburgh Zoo with my gran. This precious time spent exploring together allowed us to connect with ourselves, each other, and the natural world. These visits stimulated my interest in the work of the zoo community. When I turned 18, I signed up for vet school as I knew I already wanted to be a zoo vet.
What excited you about the role when you first saw it advertised?
I’ve known about the work of Durrell almost my entire life. I was also aware of the legacy of my predecessor, Andrew Routh, and knew that I would be inheriting a great team and animals that were well looked after. When the role became available, it was a no-brainer! Durrell has a great reputation for both leadership and passion, which I have already seen in my short time here.
Tell us about your role in Jersey.
I’m the Head of Veterinary Services for the Trust, which means I look after the collection here in Jersey, as well as all the animals at our overseas sites, including Madagascar, India and the Caribbean. The scope of conservation work and the important role that health can play in conservation efforts are what excite me most about this role, as well as the opportunities; not only to develop the health of the animals in our collections but also to develop the team.
What were your first impressions of Durrell?
The zoo itself is beautiful. It has very natural enclosures, all designed in the spirit of our founder, Gerald Durrell.
Durrell is run by highly passionate individuals working towards shared values and common goals. As the zoo continues to evolve, I am interested in helping to shape it from the vet’s side. We want to ensure that the animals we care for now and in the future have optimal health and welfare.
What do you hope to achieve in this role?
I’m hoping to get the opportunity to visit our rewilding sites around the world. I’m really looking forward to developing relationships with the teams and vets on the ground in these locations. I also really want to contribute to the further progression and development of the zoo, helping to maintain and enhance its status within the wider European zoo community.
What is the most challenging part of your new role? What are you enjoying the most?
One challenge we are facing at Jersey Zoo, as well as other zoos in the UK, is with imports and exports of animals post-Brexit. I’m hoping my background in policy will serve me well with this challenge.
There is so much I enjoy about working at Durrell. The variety of species that we work with at the zoo, different colleagues with various backgrounds, cultures and roles, and of course the chicken curry from our café!