Staff Spotlight: Collin Mwatupa

Title:
Manager & Resident Guide

Photos

I grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe and grew to love nature and animals. I came to Twala as an intern and never left. My wife Becky also works here. It's our home and everyone at Twala, including the animals, are our family

What is your favorite travel memory?

When I travel, it's usually on a Twala rescue mission. My favourite memory is of going to rescue 2 lions that had been kept on a farm as pets. We had been trying for a long time to get these lions moved to Twala so they could have the care they need. We traveled on really bad roads that were flooded, to a very remote area where the lions had been kept in a small enclosure. The journey home was amazing, knowing we were bringing the lions to Twala at long last.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I am so proud of what we do at Twala Trust for the animals and for our community. It has made me realize that even one person can make a difference.

The many challenges we face working in a country where the economy is not strong have made me able to approach problems with a positive attitude and to appreciate the people that I work with. I now feel lucky to live in such a beautiful country with so much wildlife and to be making a difference through the work that we do, both in saving animals and in educating our community about animal welfare and the environment. My children will grow up at Twala and it's a happy place to be.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

We have had a young guy volunteer with us with his family several times. The first time he was only a young boy and he came with me on some rescues, including relocating a crocodile that strayed into some farmland and removing a python from a hen house. We had a lot of adventures but he also learned a lot each time he came to Twala. Now he is at university and chose to study animal law. That makes me feel really proud of the part we played in helping him decide to spend his life helping animals.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

The volunteer programme is really educational in terms of conservation and animal welfare, but it's also about showing volunteers our beautiful country, Zimbabwe, and teaching them about our culture and values as a people. Because we work so closely with the local community, it's a really genuine way for people to feel a part of life in Zimbabwe and why it's so special and unique.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We are so focused on the good things about animal rescue and rehabilitation - being able to give an animal a good life after it has been through abuse or injury or been displaced is a really good feeling. We are so proud of our high standards of care and how the animals are respected and put first. It is always a really proud moment when we successfully release an animal back into the wild - it's a real achievement that makes all the hard work worth it.

Another really great thing is that the Twala staff all have pets that the Trust provides food and vet care for. They are all rescued dogs and cats. This is a good way for our children to learn to love and respect animals.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

We always work as a team. At Twala we always say that everything is everyone's job. We all do everything that needs to be done for the animals including feeding and cleaning and maintenance and that makes everybody feel involved in the whole process of rescuing the animals and rehabilitating them and either releasing them back into the wild or giving them a really good life at Twala.