Taipei--Okamoto Yumiko, a 26-year-old woman from Japan, who previously worked in the education department at Ueno Zoo, earlier this month joined staff at Hsinchu Zoo after her offer to volunteer at the city-run zoo was accepted by Hsinchu City government, according to a city government spokesman.
Yumiko sent a greeting card to Hsinchu Mayor Lin Chih-chien several months ago, in which she expressed an interest in working at the zoo and her dream has now come true, according to the spokesman.
Yumiko, who speaks Japanese, Korean, Chinese and English, mediated between Hsinchu Zoo and Ueno Zoo when the two inked a friendship accord in 2016, according to the spokesman.
She has also worked at other zoos in East Asia as part of her desire to help animals wherever they may be.
Attracted by Hsinchu City government's zoo renewal project, Yumiko was keen to come to Taiwan and help, which is why she wrote to the mayor outlining her hopes and dreams for the zoo.
Yumiko said in the card she was moved by the renewal plan and the friendliness of the zoo's employees and wanted to help market the zoo to a wider East Asian audience and see it turned into a paradise for children.
Touched by Yumiko's words, Lin decided to invite her to Hsinchu, according to the spokesman.
Hsinchu Zoo director Yang Chia-min said Yumiko has much experience in animal nutrition, animal habitats and life education and is an inspiration to her new colleagues.
Yumiko is Hsinchu Zoo's first foreign employee since it opened more than 80 years ago, Yang said, adding that despite being a new arrival, she is already able to discuss the zoo in Chinese, while employing her work experience to help renovate the zoo and her language proficiency to develop a closer relationship with Japan and South Korea.
Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council