A new face at Zoo Berlin
An interview with Antje Brose
Since 1 February, Antje Brose has been head of fundraising at Zoo and Tierpark Berlin. We wanted to get to know her better, so we invited her for a chat.
Antje, what made you apply for a job at the Zoo?
Antje Brose: „Can there be a more beautiful place to work?“
Very true! What were you most pleased to discover on your first day of work?
Antje Brose: „That I can see male elephant Viktor right outside my window. It’s not always easy to stay focused on my work with such an amazing view! I also enjoy strolling through the Zoo on my lunch break and seeing some of the other animals.“
So now we have to ask the obvious question: What is your favourite animal?
Antje Brose: „Hippos, seals, zebras, kiwis… My favourite animal changes on an almost daily basis. But that’s hardly surprising – after all, the place where I work is home to the largest variety of species of any zoo in the world, so there’s always more to discover.“
Can you explain what your job entails?
Antje Brose: „I am responsible for fundraising. That means I am the point of contact for sponsors and donors at all three of Berlin’s zoological facilities: Zoo, Tierpark, and Aquarium. Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor or making a donation is directed to me. Some people want to know how much it costs to sponsor their favourite animal or what the sponsorship process involves. Others are looking for an appropriate present for a particular occasion. I give them tips on which sponsorships could work well.“
And what’s your favourite aspect of the job?
Antje Brose: „The best part for me is working with people. It makes me particularly happy when people tell me how much they love the Zoo.“
What is the most unusual fact you have learned since starting your job at the Zoo?
Antje Brose: „I didn’t know that there were animals other than humans that use farming methods to ensure their food supply, so I was quite amazed when I saw the leafcutter ants upstairs in the Aquarium for the first time. The organisation and division of labour among these insects is astonishing. They harvest leaves in order to feed their fungal gardens, which they tend to much like a farm.
It was also new for me to find out that some employees live here at the Zoo."
Is there an aspect of your work that you believe does not receive enough publicity?
Antje Brose: „Definitely the tree sponsorships. Each year, one of Zoo Berlin’s trees is named “Tree of the Year”. Anyone can sponsor a tree for €250 a year. It makes for the perfect wedding gift, as the couple then has a permanent place that commemorates their union. With its roots firmly in place, the tree grows and blossoms. That’s a perfect symbol, isn’t it?“
What was the feedback from your first sponsors’ evening at the Zoo?
Antje Brose: „Our sponsors and donors told me that it was a very enjoyable evening with good music. They had interesting conversations with our keepers and were also given the opportunity to take a look around the tree nursery and the veterinary surgery. For most people that was a really special experience.“
What has been your most emotional moment to date?
Antje Brose: „There was mother who had lost her son and wanted to make a donation in his memory. As she was explaining the situation to me, we both ended up in tears. It’s wonderful to know that zoos can provide people with comfort even during dark times. For many people, Zoo Berlin is a place where they have shared special moments with loved ones and created happy memories.“
Have you ever given a sponsorship as a present?
Antje Brose: „Yes, I gave my daughter a Humboldt penguin sponsorship for her birthday.“
Which sponsorship would you give next?
Antje Brose: „My brother just became a daddy and we’re going to sponsor a tree for his little one.“
Are there any particularly special sponsorships you would recommend?
Antje Brose: „The oldest animal living at the Zoo is a flamingo, so that would be a real statement for any upcoming 80th birthdays. And even young kids or arachnophobes can demonstrate their courage by sponsoring one of the Aquarium’s tarantulas.