Friday, July 29, 2011

week 7 of state capital internship

This week was again not a lot of learning. I mostly did member bio’s which is just getting info together on different legislators. It is interesting to see the different backgrounds on the members. As well as to be able to see where a lot come from. I helped to office work, but hopefully there will be some more cool things to do before I leave. I feel the reason it is so slow is because it summer recess and the capital is empty.


Yay Lemurs!

This week was mostly routine, days started in the morning with cleaning either the ring tail exhibit and holding area or the red ruffed exhibit and holding area, which is then followed by cleaning the downstairs mongoose lemur holding area, the upstairs mongoose lemur holding area, or the fossa holding area, cleaning holding areas also always means cleaning the footbaths that are in that area as well. Sometimes I will also clean the windows in the public viewing area. Once all the holding areas are done we prepare the day enrichment for the giant jumping rats and the aye-aye, and do herps. Diets for the next day are sometimes prepared before lunch and sometimes after lunch depending on when a keeper has time to go get them because all we do for diets is add in the dry food like browse biscuits and pellets and such. Once diets are prepared, aye-aye and rats are given their afternoon enrichment, and the bats are fed. Then lemur enrichment for when they return to their holding areas for the night is prepared.

There were a few things that happened each day that were not part of this normal routine. On Sunday, I got to go with a keeper to get diets and see where all of that is prepared. Also on Sunday, I had to strip the snake exhibit, this meant removing all the mulch that was on the floor of the exhibit and then hosing it down. This had to be done because they are adding new heating sources into the exhibit so that all the snakes can be at one at the same time.

On Monday, I got to go out and bring enrichment to the sick lemur holding area, and brought food to the ring tail lemur island and to the red ruffed lemurs outside. A keeper usually does this alone so I was happy to get a chance to do this and was able to get some very good pictures of the ring tails and the red ruffed. Today I also helped move around plants that were upstairs and cleaned the dirt that was around the plants, and then cleaned shelves that were removed from holding areas due to rusting.

Tuesday was a short day for me because I injured my ankle stepping out of the ring tail exhibit in the morning and did not come back after lunch to give my ankle a chance to rest. What ever I did to my ankle it is now better and no longer hurting.

Wednesday was a special day called Member’s Day at the zoo. And for this we had ring tail island training at 2pm, fossa training at 2:30pm, and then were putting enrichment out for the lemurs from 3-7. I got to watch the ring tail training, but then had to stand inside and watch the button quail for almost 2 hours. The male and female were just being put back together on exhibit and were not getting along very well so someone had to watch them to make sure they were not fighting.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


So in an earlier post I mentioned that we have been running the Okakarara cubs on a regular basis. These guys are almost a year old now and recently we promoted them to a larger enclosure for their runs. Their enclosure is where we used to run them, however in the past couple of weeks we were feeling that they had outgrown that enclosure while running, so we decided it would be best to move them another one of the cheetah enclosures for the runs. Their first time in the new enclosure and on the new run course, which was mid-last week, went very well. Yesterday was their third time and things are still going well. It's a new place for them so they really enjoy exploring the area as well as the opportunity to run at speeds they couldn't reach before because of space limitations. Senay in particular has been very fast and enthusiastic on the course. I imagine that visitors will enjoy the opportunity to see these guys running when they are full grown. I haven't had much opportunity to get pictures of them running in the new area because I have been so busy actually operating the lure machine, but yesterday I managed to get a few shots which are posted on my blog at

CCF is currently mid stride in a long term cheetah census using camera traps as the data collection method. We have about 15-20 camera traps set up all around CCF property at trees that cheetahs using as marking and communications posts which we call "play trees." We have done short term censuses in the same way, however this is the first long term camera trap census that we has been done. Our ecology team feels that the data collected on the short term will differ from this long term study due to the ways in which cheetahs, particularly female cheetahs, use these play trees. In addition to the cheetah census, the data collected will be used in a variety of other ways. One of the most significant being the study of the relationship between cheetahs and leopards in regards to these play trees, because both cheetahs and leopards have been seen to use the same trees in what we think to be similar ways. I have the responsibility of driving around to all these camera traps and collected and changing the SD cards. It takes me a few hours to check half of the cameras because they are spread out so far in CCF's property. I have really enjoyed this task because it has allowed me to see a lot of CCF that most people do not typically see, and has also provided me the opportunity to participate in CCF's research.

So not too much to update everyone on. It's business as usual here at CCF. As always I'm open to any questions or comments. Until next time...


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Incarnation Camp!

The summer started with two weeks of staff orientation at my second home, Incarnation Camp in Ivoryton, Connecticut. Along with other staff members from England, Australia, Holland, South Africa, Wales, and Scotland, I spent the first week in lifeguard training, ropes course certification training, cleaning up camp, assembling steel bunk beds, and putting up canvas platform tents. The second week was spent getting to know each other better, and learning the ways of camp. Once our first two weeks were over, the campers arrived! I worked with the twelve and thirteen year old girls in a unit called Winds. We had just over twenty girls in Winds first session, and five of them were in the tent I shared with my co-counselor, Jasmine. First session was full of madness and typical camp fun including swimming, boating, soccer, arts and crafts, music, basketball, high ropes, and a giant fourth of July celebration. On Sundays we did all camp activities like olympics and Harry Potter day. I got the pleasure of planning a canoe trip for Winds and the boy's unit, Frontier. It was a two day trip down the Connecticut River, and surprisingly went off without a hitch! At the end of the session it was so sad to see the girls leave. There were lots of tears and promises to keep in touch and return to camp next summer.
Next came something very unexpected. There is a program for older campers ages 14 and 15 called Pioneer Village (P.V.). It's located across the lake and involves things like cooksite, where you cook breakfast and dinner over a fire, and five day hike, bike, and canoe trips. Normally you have to be twenty-one to work there, but a spot opened up, and it was given to me! I'll be twenty-one next summer
, but I'm still the youngest counselor in P.V. right now. It has been an interesting experience so far since I haven't been to P.V. since I was a camper in 2007 and I have to re-learn everything from a staff point of view. I'm still planning the Winds Frontier canoe trip, but now I have a tent group with six girls and I'm assisting the trip director with hike trips. I've got a few days under my belt so far and I can't wait to see how the rest of the summer goes!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Even in New england theres a heat wave

This week has been pretty ridiculous heat wise. You would think being in a New England state that one wouldn't have to deal with 90+ temperatures, but I was very wrong. Monday we started off with changing the birds water, which took no time at all. Then Jeanne ran off to grab something for her aviary and I went to go meet her at her house. At her house we needed to dig up the grass 18" out from her aviary on all sides. It wasn't that hot when we started, but by time we got half way done with the first wall we were drenched with sweat. Jeannes two golden retrievers were playing supervisor the whole time, or trying to steal gloves and Gatorade bottles. Once we got a good system going it went pretty fast.

Wednesday the first thing I did was go and say hi to Corbin. He's a silly bird now that he has his own aviary with a nest box and all. I was trying go him to say hello, because corvids are that smarts. All I was able to get out of him so far is him trying to make out two syllables. It's a good start. Being this was also a hot day we didn't work with any of the birds. This day was a rehab cleaning day, which meant the Kestrel and Red-tailed. He currently have a 6 year old banded bird in rehab that had a telemetry unit on it. We didn't clean out the Barred owl carrier because Jeanne was taking him to her place. After cleaning it was time to release one of the young birds we were holding. At the moment we had the Red-Shouldered hawk in the flight cage, and he seemed more than ready to go. Me and Jeanne went into to the flight cage to get him and pack him up for a short trip. Jeanne netted him and I grabbed him out and placed him in the box. We took him to a wooded area near UCONN to release him. Since I might not be around for the release of the other birds I was allowed to do this one. Jeanne got him out of the box for me since he was being a bit nuts and then passed him off to me. The whole time he was doing his usual Red-Shoulder scream. When I let him go he flew up into a tree that was as far away as the flight cage is long. It was good to see him go as well as he did, and hopefully we won't get him back.

Like usual Friday was our cleaning day in which I started by gathering water bowls. After that I spent most of the time cleaning out the Red-tailed hawks aviary. Those birds can make such a mess, it's ridiculous. And then Saturday was a program day in Norwich. We brought with us the Eastern Screech owl, Broad winged hawk, Peregrine falcon, and the Great horned owl for a small crowd. I don't feel like did my best at this program, but not the worst. Before we left someone checked the temperature outside and it was 106 degrees outside.

I technically only have six and three quarters of an hour left in my required time, but I'm going to finish another 3 weeks and leave Connecticut on the 16th. I'm ready for school to start up again and get done with my last semester. I'm now going to leave you with a video of the Red-Shoulder release.

Friday, July 22, 2011

week 6 state capital internship

This week i have not really done a whole of different things. I have just done one thing over and over this week. I have been working on senate and assembly member profiles with one the other intern. It’s a lot like researching for papers, but a lot easier. I am looking up different members and fill out a format with information that could be important or useful to our member.


First week of work


This was the day after I arrived and checked in to where I will be living. I had my orientation where I got background information about the zoo, people who work there, the different exhibits that are there; got my id badge; got my working hours and was shown shortcuts to get to my area. I was also stopped by two groups of kids doing scavenger hunt to take pictures.


For my first day of work we were shorthanded because I was the only intern there and one of the keepers was on vacation. Normally new interns have help with cleaning their first exhibit but got I told what to do then did it myself because we were so shorthanded. The exhibit I was cleaning was the indoor ringtail lemur, collard lemur, and tortoises exhibit. While cleaning I have to wear mask and gloves to prevent disease since lemurs primates and primates so close to humans. Tortoises were on exhibit while I was cleaning, while the lemurs were in their back holding area. First I drained small pool of drinking water. Then I took small broom and dustpan and went in exhibit swept up the food that was left and the loose feces. Then I hosed down exhibit getting stuck feces up and spraying the windows that go out to public viewing. Took broom and dustpan again and picked up the feces that were now not stuck, then took large broom and swept out the water that had collected at different parts of exhibit to a drain. Throughout this one tortoise kept leaving the area on one side of the exhibit with wood chips for them and I had to pick him up and move him back to the wood chips. Then closed the drain for the drinking water and refilled it with fresh water. Squeegee the windows. Then took the lemurs food for the day and put it in different parts of exhibit off the ground so the tortoises would not get it.

Next I went out into the public area and cleaned the windows throughout the whole indoor area.

When I finished this I started cleaning the holding area for the lemurs whose exhibit I had cleaned earlier. For this I again got the broom and dustpan and swept up the food and loose feces. Sprayed the area with the hose to get wet it down and then got hose with soap attachment and sprayed whole area down with that then got scrubby brush and scrubbed the area making sure to get all that was stuck off. I then sprayed again to make sure I got up all soap then squeegeed again. Then I filled up the water dishes.

Next I cleaned out the footbaths that are used every time you go from one area to another. This was done by just emptying them, spraying down the pad that was in there, putting in one squirt of soap then filling with water until it was even with the pad.

After that I cleaned the mongoose lemur holding area, this was done the same way as the previous one for the other lemurs.

Next I worked with another keeper, Wendy, and prepared enrichment for the aye-aye, this was a cardboard tube with food in the middle and newspaper on both ends.

Then was lunch break!!

When I got back from lunch I was preparing diets for the next day with another keeper, Sara. The fruit and vegetables had already been prepared and were all in bags marked with the animals they were for. On the fridge there is a list of what each group of animals gets in terms of pellets or other type of dry food. All this was added to each bag and then the bags were put in the fridge.

Then Sara, Wendy, and I took the bags of food for the bats for today and went to their exhibit. The males are in their own smaller exhibit and the females are in a larger exhibit with the aye-aye. Sara and I went in the larger exhibit and Wendy went in the smaller one.

This weekend is an event called Moo at the Zoo, and for this most of the animals were getting watermelons so me and the three keepers that were there today, Joe, Sara, and Wendy cut up watermelons, some to look like turtles, and brought them around and put them in exhibits, only the lemurs got them in our area.

Unfortunately, the red-ruffed and black and white-ruffed lemurs that are in the outdoor exhibits are currently positive for bacteria (the outdoor boardwalk walkthrough area is currently closed due to this) and they needed to get their weight up a little before beginning treatment so we had to go out and weigh them. This part of the day was my favorite because we got to go in the exhibit with the lemurs. First we did the black and white ruffed ones. There are four of them. Sara, Wendy, and I went in the exhibit and Joe stood right outside to note the weights. We had a scale that was plugged in with extension cords and cups with raisins in them. Each lemur was scanned for its microchip then weighed. Sara and I distracted the other lemurs while Wendy lured one on the scale and got its weight. To distract the lemurs we fed them raisins which they took gently from our fingers and also tried grabbing on to the cup holding the raisins and onto my arm or shirt. Switching the lemurs to weigh other ones was difficult as a couple didn’t want to go on the scale then two of them would be on it at once. After this Sara left and Wendy, Joe, and I went up to weigh the red-ruffed lemurs. They were a little bit easier to do because they didn’t all swarm us as soon as we were there.

When this was done we went back inside and put the food for the lemurs in their holding areas along with enrichment, egg cases stuffed with food, for them to have when they came back in for the night.

And that was the end of my first day.


There were more people there today, the same keepers as yesterday along with two other interns, Cassie, and Ryan. To start off the day I cleaned all the windows in the public viewing area for the indoor exhibits. Then I swept the floor since it had not been done by the night person the night before. Next I helped finish the aye-aye exhibit, by sweeping out the drains and moving the rocks back to cover the drains so the public can’t see them. Then I cleaned the fossa’s holding area. This was done in the same way as the other holding areas. After that I cleaned the holding area for the two mongoose lemurs that are upstairs. This one is a little different in that I have to be careful where I am spraying the hose because the lemurs are right there in pen next to the one I was cleaning. Next Joe, Ryan, and I prepared enrichment for the aye-aye, which today was hiding their food in different boxes, and then brought this down and put it in their exhibit. Next Ryan and I prepared the diets for the next day. After lunch, Cassie and I cleaned the aye-aye holding area. Their holding area has wood chips and straw bedding on the floor of it so that had to be swept up. Then the rest is cleaned like every other holding area. When we were done it was left to finish drying and bedding would be added later by the night person. Next the two other interns and I prepared ice treats from watermelon that was left from the weekend. This was done by putting the watermelon chunks in buckets along with water and some grape cool aid. They were then placed in the freezer. Then we prepared the enrichment for the lemurs to get when they got back in their holding areas for the night. Today it was large buckets with their food at the bottom and shredded paper on top. This was placed in the holding areas and then the day was done.


Today there were three other interns and two girls from zoo academy. To start off the day one of the other interns, Melissa, and I cleaned the indoor exhibit for the red ruffed lemurs and the brown lemurs. This was interrupted halfway through by a severe weather drill during which we had to move to the stair. Once that was over we went back to finish cleaning the exhibit. When we finished a keeper came to let the lemurs into the exhibit from the holding area. Then we cleaned the holding area. After that me and another intern, Heather, prepared the enrichment for the mongoose lemurs upstairs, then a keeper moved them to the next pen so we could clean the one they had been in. Next the day enrichment for the aye-aye was done and brought to them. Then Heather, I, and a keeper, Kendal, did herps. The first part of this was tossing food in for the tortoises in the exhibit with the ring-tailed and collard lemurs. Next we went to the exhibit for the mantellas. This is sprayed with mist then fruit flies are put in there for them to eat. Then we went to the exhibit with a button quail, geckos, a friendly chameleon. This exhibit is misted then large crickets are put for the reptiles and other food for the quail. I also got to hold the chameleon. He is very sweet and likes to be held by people. The next stop was the exhibit for two small tortoises and several other small lizards, all that is done here is food put in for the animals. The last stop for completing herps is one more exhibit with frogs in it. This is sprayed and then food is put in. Then lunch break. After lunch Heather, Wendy, and I went to strip and clean the burrow for the giant jumping rats. Kendal came in for a few minutes to help Wendy catch the male rat to and get it in the carrier; the female rat is friendlier and goes into the carrier very easily. The rats were then put in the mongoose lemur holding area while we cleaned their exhibit. This is also added enrichment for the lemurs when they return to the holding area at night and smell the rats. To clean the burrow first the large stuff in was scooped out by hand and thrown away, then it was hosed down, then the water was vacuumed out. Then foam soap was sprayed in there and it was scrubbed, this was then vacuumed out. Then the rats were put back in. Then we fed the bats and gave the aye-ayes their fruit. Then we prepared the enrichment for the lemurs for that night which was their food in large feed bags along with straw.


Today started out with cleaning the indoor exhibit for the red ruffed and brown lemurs. Since it is a Wednesday it is a foam day so along with hosing down the exhibit and sweeping stuff up it is also sprayed with soap and scrubbed. Once that was done and a keeper moved the animals from the holding area to the exhibit I cleaned the holding area. Then I went upstairs and cleaned the upstairs mongoose lemur holding area. Then did aye-aye and jumping rat day enrichment and brought it to them. Then did herps again. Then I had two hour lunch break because there was a staff meeting. When got back we moved the tenrecs that are in a small tank upstairs downstairs along with the tanks of crickets so that they could be in the air conditioning since the heat upstairs was having bad effects on them. Then we fed the bats and brought the aye-ayes their fruit. Then we took three of the snakes out of their exhibit and put them in storage containers that are used as feeding boxes and gave them their food. Then prepared enrichment for lemurs today was cricket bags with their food, some cereal, and newspaper in it. Then we hand fed the collard lemurs their fruit because they are on exhibit and go in holding area with the ring-tailed lemurs and one of them, Rhea, has diabetes and is not supposed to have a lot a fruit.

Where I work

Hi, my name is Kristy Antoniato and I am currently interning at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska. I am working in the Expedition Madagascar area. This area consists of a building which has about 13 exhibits on either side of a hallway with glass showing into the exhibit for public viewing. Inside there is an exhibit for black lemurs, which houses 3 black lemurs; mongoose lemurs, which houses 2 mongoose lemurs and 4 younger giant jumping rats; bats, this exhibit houses just the male bats; aye-aye, which houses 2 aye-ayes and about 30 female bats; a small exhibit with frogs and geckos; giant jumping rat has two adult giant jumping rats; an exhibit with two birds, an exhibit with 4 ring-tailed lemurs (one of which is diabetic), 2 collared lemurs, and 2 large tortoises; an exhibit with 2 small tortoises, and several other smaller reptiles; an exhibit that houses several species of mantellas, very small frogs; an exhibit with 4 different species of snakes; an exhibit with 2 red ruffed lemurs and 3 brown lemurs (one of which is old and has bad arthritis and cannot jump very well); and finally an exhibit with a button quail and chameleon. This area also has 3 outdoor exhibits. One is a small island in the middle of a lagoon which houses 5 ring-tailed lemurs. There is a walkthrough boardwalk that goes through an exhibit with 5 red ruffed lemurs, and a few birds. And the other exhibit outside is one with 4 black and white ruffed lemurs.