Friday, July 22, 2011

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.

1 comment:

Nicole Collins said...

Guess you logged in okay. Thanks for the post and great pictures.