FINDING somebody in a job which they never wish to retire from is something of a rarity but it is the "great" situation animal lover Phil Rudlin finds himself in.

The Wyre Forest wildlife ranger is still "relishing every day" of his work in the woodland after 11 years in the position.

Mr Rudlin, who took up his post after spending time as a gamekeeper in Devon, is loving every minute of the job he dreamt of doing as a young child.

The 34-year-old, who lives in Far Forest, works alongside three other full-time colleagues in the Forestry Commission woodland, which is based next to the Wyre Forest Visitor centre in Callow Hill, Bewdley.

But things may not have turned out as they did if Mr Rudlin taken a school rebuttal the wrong way.

He explained: "While I was at school, which I left aged 15, a careers officer told me I had no chance of fulfilling my dream to work in a safari park in South Africa.

"However, becoming a gamekeeper was suggested and I eventually held that post in Devon, which has put me in good stead for my work here."

Cornwall-born Mr Rudlin believes times are flourishing at the forest as it prepares for its busiest time of the year in the spring season.

He said: "Last year we had 250,000 visitors come through our doors and the figures show how highly people value wildlife and conservation.

"The main area of my work is monitoring conservation and wildlife management, but there are many other aspects as well, including helping with the many pursuits and activities we organise for families throughout the year."

He added: "I have to do constant butterfly and deer counts and check the habitats of the creatures to ensure they always have the perfect conditions for breeding."

Animals and the countryside still dominate Mr Rudlin's thoughts, even in his spare time.

"I love walking and cycling in my spare time, they are my main hobbies and I'm normally in the forest when I'm doing those activities.

"It is almost like home and I can't ever imagine working anywhere else.

"I definitely want to finish my career here", he said.

"My job is my life and I have been told by the Forestry Commission I would need to move to gain a promotion.

"That simply isn't an issue as I couldn't be happier here.

"The best feeling is waking up every morning and not knowing what challenges the day will bring.

"I don't really have a wish to retire and can see myself working here until it's physically impossible for me to do so."