Ex-mechanic swaps bikes for big cats

Tony Cholerton, London Zoo
Tony Cholerton, London Zoo
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A former mechanic from St Helens has swapped the roar of motorbikes for the roar of lions!

Former Cowley High pupil Tony Cholerton is now a senior keeper at London Zoo and one of the human stars of the popular ITV series The Zoo.

The 53-year-old began life at the world’s oldest zoo as a volunteer before being offered the role of zookeeper in 1996.

Tony, who grew up on Pilkington Street in Rainford, is now one of the keepers responsible for looking after the big cats at the 36-acre site in Regent’s Park.

Now in its fourth series on ITV1, The Zoo is a three-part observational documentary which features many of the animals Tony works closely alongside every day of the week.

These include a trio of rare Sumatran tiger cubs born earlier this year and a pride of lions who are forced to come to terms with some dramatic upheaval to their group.

The first episode aired on August 10.

Tony, a lifelong fan of Everton FC who now lives in Bow in East London, said: “It has been a pleasant surprise to be filmed for the television series - although there have been ups and downs for the animals I work most closely with.

“The viewing public will also get to share in the excitement of the birth and development of our three Sumatran tiger cubs, which is one of the most exciting things to happen in all my time at London Zoo.”

The Zoo concludes at 8pm this Sunday (August 24).