By Shannon Lane @Shannonroselane
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Videographer / director: Nikolai Ankergren
Producer: Shannon Lane, Ed Baranski
Editor: Sonia Estal
Twenty years ago, Nikolai’s parents, Jorgen and Joan opened the first zoo and rescue centre for exotic animals in Denmark.
Sadly, two years ago Nikolai’s father passed away from cancer; leaving Nikolai and his mother to look after the busy zoo and rescue animals.
The 24-year-old said: “I was out on my own as a game developer, but I quickly moved home to my mother to help the zoo and its 600 animals.”
Owning Odsherred Zoo is busy work, with Nikolai taking on many jobs; including feeding, cleaning and playing with the animals.
The young zookeeper has big plans for the future, and dreams of making the zoo the biggest rescue centre for exotic animals in all of Europe.
He also wants to raise awareness of the importance of rescue centres, and how they differ to traditional zoos.
He said: “Because we are a rescue zoo, everything works a little different than in the traditional zoos.
"In traditional zoos you usually see a perfect specimen of the animals, we feel a need and we feel a responsibility to help where we can so we converted the zoo into a rescue centre instead.
"That means taking animals in that come from abusive situations or have been in laboratories. This also means that some of our animals have some scars and some problems that we have to take care of.”
To help support his mother and the zoo, Nikolai has come up with a creative way to raise money; a mobile app game about the zoo.
The game’s profits will go to various charities, and the young zookeeper hopes the money raised will also help realise his family’s dream of making their rescue centre the biggest in Europe.
To help Nikolai develop his game, visit: www.gofundme.com/save-rescue-zoo-for-exotic-animals