A 50-YEAR-old diary has been discovered at Dudley Zoo- offering a snapshot of life as zookeeper in years gone by.

The diary, dated to 1969, was unearthed behind a cabinet when the former mongoose and porcupine enclosure was taken down to make way for the new home for bearcats Ellie and Elliot.

The find has been dried and studied by staff and contains handwritten records on the care of giraffes and gazelles, such as their breeding behaviour, feeding habits and medical records.

The records are very similar to the notes zookeepers collect today on a digital system.

Assistant Curator Jay Haywood said: “It’s been very interesting to see how zoo keepers used to keep their records in the days before computers would have been used here.

“It was particularly fascinating to me as the majority of the entries were made by the former head of section Eileen Skinner, who retired shortly after I joined the zoo in 1999."

He added: “All surviving keeping records since the zoo opened in 1937 are kept in our archives so this document has filled a gap in our history and will be wonderful to look back on for years to come.”