Hayley Mullaney, Assistant Curator and Head Mammal keeper at Cotswold Wildlife Park, is one of 10 finalists in with a chance of winning VisitEngland’s annual Tourism Superstar competition.
Tourism Superstar recognises the dedication and passion of those working in the tourism industry. It promotes unsung heroes who go far beyond the call of duty to ensure visitors in their area have an unforgettable experience.
Hayley has been a dedicated member of the Park’s team for over a decade. As well as looking after Rhinos, Giraffes, Lions and many other iconic mammals at the Burford collection, Hayley has also been responsible for some truly amazing events. She organised the Park’s first-ever “Dreamnight at the Zoo” – an evening for chronically ill and disabled children and their families to exclusively enjoy the wildlife park after hours. Hayley has been the organiser for six years and is brilliant with the children, families and charities, making it a very special evening to remember for some truly deserving guests
She is always coming up with new ideas to help charities. For example, recently noticing that a lot of drinking bottles, sunglasses and hats were being left behind at the Park by visitors and not being collected, Hayley found a children’s charity in Ghana who would make great use of these items. She also organises training days for Banbury-based charity Dogs for Good to train their assistance dogs at the Park. Once fully trained, these dogs are a lifeline for adults and children with a range of physical disabilities, as well as those with conditions such as dementia or autism.
Hayley is particularly proud of the Junior Keeper Experience she set up at the Park. It aims to inspire the next generation of animal lovers, conservationists and potential zoo keepers.
She also goes above-and-beyond her role as Head Mammal keeper when it comes to looking after the animals. In 2017, Belle, the Park’s first hand-reared Rhino calf, needed around-the-clock care. On top of her daily responsibilities, Hayley spent nights by Belle’s side, which included bottle-feeding her at 2am. Her dedication and care is inspiring.
Hayley Mullaney said: “I am absolutely delighted to be nominated. In my role as Assistant Curator and Head Mammal keeper, I am lucky enough to work with some of the rarest and most iconic animals on earth. I am very fortunate to be able to share my passion for animals and conservation with our visitors and this is hugely rewarding in itself. I try to give everyone a warm welcome when they visit the Park and always hope they leave inspired about the wonders of the natural world”.
She added: “I’m really touched that the extra things I’ve organised over the years, like “Dreamnight at the Zoo” and the Junior Keeper Experiences, have had such a positive effect on people and helped to create some wonderful memories for them. I’d also like to say a huge thank you to my colleagues at the wildlife park, as the job we do is all about teamwork, and a big thank you to Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens and Experience Oxfordshire for nominating me.”