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Old 12-30-2013, 04:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Pics & Videos from Days Working at the Zoo

I don't think I've shared my pics and experiences with training and working with the animals at the zoo! I did an internship with the African Keepers at my local zoo. I was able to observe and assist in training and caring for all the animals (lions, wild dogs, caracals, mongooses, swamp monkeys, rhinos, giraffes, hippos, etc). I was able to conduct the training myself with the mongooses and the meerkats. It was all shaping training with lures and bait. All were behaviors necessary to get them checked/examined by a vet without having to sedate (present side, open mouth, stand up with feet on cage to exam chest, etc).

The lions and rhinos were my favorite. The male lion, Zawadi, was terrified of men. He would let out a huge roar and charge the cage whenever a man walked in or a woman he didn't recognize. It was all show, he was pretty skittish By the end of my term we were getting him to come into the demo area with crowds, though. Which was pretty cool. My husband got to come on my last day and meet all the animals. I didn't tell him about how Zawadi was with men, so he walked in the door and was met with a roar even scarier than the one in the video I attached.

The caracals (bobcat/linx like cats) were awesome. The male, Cricket, purred and meowed like a house cat. Begging for attention. He was surrendered by a woman who was trying to keep him as a pet. The female caracal had babies when I was there, so I got to be on watch while she had her babies. Then I got to hold them and handle them for weight checks...it was overall a pretty amazing experience. Although, I was 8-20 weeks pregnant for the whole thing and suffered some pretty horrible morning sickness, especially in cleaning of the bat exhibit and the swamp monkey exhibit. PeeYew!!

The rhinos were pretty awesome too. The female, Zuri, was like a big dog. She would come running when she heard us coming in the door. And run up and down the cage to get a scratch on her ear and an apple. The Hippos (in the same holding area) were friendly as well, and loved scratches under their chins and apples. :-)

Anyway, here's a bunch of pics and a short clip of a Zawadi Roar. Enjoy :-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIa5lLQwMGQ
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Pretty cool experience. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Neat!! Is this at the Oregon Zoo? The animals and names are familiar, I was actually just there this Saturday! Didn't get to see the lions (must have been too cold for them) but saw one of the caracals, the mongoose, and the giraffe indoors

The caracal actually worried me a little because of his endless pacing back and forth in front of the window. Beautiful (and adorable) animal, just wasn't sure what to think of the pacing. Might have just been having a bad day?

Sounds like an awesome experience, thanks for sharing!
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Oh wow....sounds like a great experience. Thanks for sharing your pics!
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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so neat, would love a job like that
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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so neat, would love a job like that
+1

the giraffe - they are gracefully ungainly, if that makes sense... kind of like a certain dog I know
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Old 12-30-2013, 07:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DaniFani View Post
Barf! Lol, I'm torn between throwing up in my mouth and laughing out loud at the tiny dangling participle in the profile pic.

Thanks for calling him out for me, Bill. I'm hoping it's just some random psycho, and not a regular gone mad under a new/fake username!! I see he's targeted lots of threads. Sorry you're left to clean up that mess, mod's.
Thanks dani! I know we have disagreed in the past; But what a piece of s... Buy the way you have a beautiful pup good luck! Bill

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Old 12-30-2013, 07:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Anywho, back on track. Yes, it's the oregon zoo. It was an awesome experience, but I quickly decided it wasn't for me. The hours aren't bad, but the pay is measly, and even though you get to interact with these magnificent animals, 95% of your day is just cleaning up after them. Although, rumor has it if you work at a lower income zoo you can do more interacting with the animals. Although, a woman was just killed at a local sanctuary that allowed interaction sans barrier. No thanks, I think I'll just stick to training the domesticated animals. :-)

Plus it was always hard when the animals were displaying huge levels of intelligence. I'm not PETA person, but sometimes, especially with the primates, the level of intelligence seemed so high and their situation just didn't seem it could fulfill that brain power.

For example. There were some primates a few years back that were given empty cardboard boxes to play with at night after the keepers left. The keeper's tools were hung on the wall opposite the holding enclosure (well out of reach of the primates). Those dang geniuses (the primates), ripped up the cardboard boxes, flattened them out from the enclosure to under the wall where the tools were. Then they threw things at the tools, knocking them onto the flattened cardboard, and then pulled them into the cage.

Another cool story was the chimps. There was this one female the head keeper I worked under, used to work with. He accidently left his key ring in the enclosure and let her back into the enclosure before he realized it. She grabbed the keys right away. She knew how to trade for things, so the keeper grabbed a handful of blueberries to trade her a blueberry for the keys. That smartypants took each key off the key chain and only handed the keeper one key at a time for one blueberry each. She knew that if she gave him the whole keyring she'd only get one blueberry, but if she took each off individually she'd get a blueberry for every key....that's incredible intelligence to me!!!
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Last edited by DaniFani; 12-30-2013 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 12-30-2013, 07:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks dani! I know we have disagreed in the past; But what a piece of s... Buy the way you have a beautiful pup good luck! Bill

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Oh yeah, the people I argue/disagree with are usually my favorites though!! Way more interesting and fun to disagree and still be able to get along and have a good time than hold onto some anger or grudge lol. There's no one here I don't like, I know I ruffle feathers sometimes, but someone has to have the opposing opinion, right?! Lol. I know those I disagree with sometimes hold grudges, but it's the ones that I can argue to the death with on one thread, and then go whole heartedly agree with on another that I like the most!! I haven't seen LaLa around here in awhile, but I LIT into her about some stuff on one thread, but then a few weeks later we were going back and forth like old friends. That's the kind of debate and topic conversations I like to have. :-) Some can't handle that though. :-(

And thanks for the comment about my pup, he's a bundle of fun.
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Old 12-30-2013, 07:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Rei View Post
Neat!! Is this at the Oregon Zoo? The animals and names are familiar, I was actually just there this Saturday! Didn't get to see the lions (must have been too cold for them) but saw one of the caracals, the mongoose, and the giraffe indoors

The caracal actually worried me a little because of his endless pacing back and forth in front of the window. Beautiful (and adorable) animal, just wasn't sure what to think of the pacing. Might have just been having a bad day?

Sounds like an awesome experience, thanks for sharing!
It was probably the caracal's feeding time. They generally get fed early in the AM (8ish) and then around 2:30/3. Cricket always paced like a mad man when he knew the keepers were going to be around soon. He LOVES interacting with the keepers, way more than the female. Probably because from kitten to maturity he lived in a pet home with a lady.
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