Monday, June 1, 2009

Animal Care Internship

I am one of 7 animal care interns here at the Kansas City Zoo. The department I work with is called Baobab, which is divided into two groups: Market and Forest. The forest side is made up of gorillas, red river hog, bongos, african crowned cranes, leopard, black mangabeys, red capped mangabeys, and yellow backed duikers. The market side is made up of cheetahs, warthogs, lilac breasted roller, red ruffed lemurs, ground hornbills, saddle billed storks, aldabra tortoises, leopard tortoise, lappet faced vultures, bateleur eagles, blue duikers, red-flanked duikers, and tons of birds in 2 different aviaries. My department has so many different animals, I'm probably forgeting a few of them..

I started my 3rd week on Sunday, and loving it. So far I've learned all the routines for the different areas in Market and Forest. Besides taking care of the animals in my department I also do keeper chats about cheetahs and gorillas.

One fun thing I did last week was paint with the gorillas. We helped them by holding the ornaments and canvas, while they held the brush and painted. One of the best perks of being an intern is that if we bring in canvas, we can get the animals to paint. And basically all the animals at the zoo paint. I've also got to observe training sessions with one of our cheetahs, and our leopard.

This is the first summer that KCZ is technically doing internships. In previous years they've had assistant zoo keepers, which were paid part time keepers. So since they haven't done it before, and they're trying to figure everything out (ex: if we can shadow other departments, etc) so we're basically a guinea pig group; but it's not bad at all.

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