Well I had my first day of my internship today, and it was very wet. It started out pretty slow though. On normal days I will need to be there by 7am, but since today was the first day I only had to be there by 10am. Traffic wasn't too bad going in, I hit a little bit on the way up, but that's to be expected considering it was raining all night and this morning. Plus there were rumors that there was an accident around the time that I would have been in the area...I didn't see anything though.
To start off my day I had orientation with all of the interns. Nothing very interesting to report there. We covered the basic rules and guidelines of the zoo and some protocols. Not super exciting, but important none the less. After that I had my photo taken for my name tag, and then we headed off to the staff meeting to join everyone else. We only caught the tail end of it, so I didn't get to hear much. Mostly just information about what is happening at the zoo in the future like events and stuff like that. I'm sure there were some other important things covered as well.
Once the staff meeting was done I met with my department. I believe that we are one of the largest departments so I only met a few of them today. The people that I work with will change from day to day so it'll always keep me on my toes I'm sure. We started out slow, by having lunch. We get an hour for lunch, so when we weren't eating we chit chatted about where we (the interns...and some of the staff) were from, and other basic get to know you information. Everyone was super friendly. Once lunch was over me and the other two interns in my department (Courtney and Katie) were split of to cover the tasks ahead of us with different keepers. Normally this would have been done already but with the staff meeting this morning and some important shifting of animals, the cleaning and feeding was put off until the afternoon. Which in my opinion was great because it allowed me to see what happens when if it had been a normal day I wouldn't have.
I went with zookeeper John to go to the "lower road". This consists of the big cats, camels, wildebeest, and some birds. We went through each enclosure cleaning up everything and making sure that it was tidy. We also made sure to pay attention to how all of the animals were doing and noted if any of them seemed a bit off. Courtney went off with zookeeper Hope to the "upper road" to do the same thing that we were doing, but with different animals. On the "upper road" there are zebras, ostrich, cranes, and bongo (similar to an antelope). Katie went with zookeeper Erin and a volunteer named....Jeff I think... to work with the giraffes and perhaps some other things. There's a particular name for this area but I can't remember it right now.
After all this was done we met back up at the trailer (the area in which we eat lunch and do paperwork), to do just that, paperwork. Well okay, I wasn't doing the paperwork, all the keepers were but they explained it to me and roughly how it works. The paperwork essentially consists of writing down what was done and anything that we observed. We also write down any supplies that may need to be picked up tomorrow.
When paperwork was done we started closing, which means we go back through and feed all the animals if they haven't already been feed, make sure they're doing alright and shut off any lights that may have been left on. During closing I was able to help John scatter some meatballs throughout the pens for the big cats. Hiding them wasn't the most exciting thing to do, but watching them come in to eat them was quite the sight. Christopher (the lion) was not as fast as the tigers at finding his meatballs, but apparently he's much older so I'll give him some credit. He seems like such a sweetie. The tigers were very excited to come in and find their meatballs and gobbled them right up!
Once that was done we headed back to get our things and head out for the day. We'll see what tomorrow brings...