Sunday, July 15, 2012

Zoo Camp and Free Fun Friday

Tuesday- To start the day the interns, Britney the volunteer, and I went off to weed the overlooks of the Congo exhibit. The overlooks are the areas that the visitors can look out onto the exhibit from above. The weeds can get very tall in this area and can obstruct the visitor's view so it's important that they're taken out.
When that was done I went off to top road to help Joe. There wasn't a whole lot to do since he got started before I showed up. Also, we were having the zoo camp kids come to help us so I didn't have to do the stalls. Which was nice because that allowed me enough time to do all the zebra stalls, which can take a long time.

Later on, once lunch was done, we went on a tour given by the interns of different departments. First up was Birds World, which was interesting. They have some really cool birds there and they also have some Australian mammals. I personally like the tree kangaroos. We also have regular kangaroos, once of which who just had a joey recently. He's very cute. After Birds World, we went onto Tropical Forest which was really cool. It doesn't look very large from the outside, but inside the keeper area it's like a maze. There's so many levels and twists and turns. We were also able to watch a very short gorilla training session with one of the males, Kit.  We were also able to see an anteater feeding which was really cool. For tours they do a special feeding in a tube that allows people to see his very long tongue. Which I thought was pretty cool. I think I would be more freaked out if he licked me than when Beau licks me.


After the tours I decided to work on a small project of weeding between the family of Siberian cranes and Khanty, another Siberian crane. It wasn't too bad, the ground was loose there so it was easy to pull them up. All the cranes made sure that they had a good eye on me the whole time.



Wednesday- I was on top again today so I started out with cleaning bongo. I really enjoy working with them, they're such sweet creatures. Junior is particularly my favorite out of them, I give him daily rubs when I can. He always gets up to greet me and puts his face up to the bars so that he can get a good scratching. This day I noticed that he was particularly dusty so I decided to take the time to brush him a little. He really enjoyed that! I tried brushing the girls as well, but they didn't enjoy it that much. Lady was quite interested in the brush itself since she's very curious about everything. I let her sniff it a bit but she was too unsure to let me brush her.

My other big project for the day was creating an ostrich wallow for the birds. The wallow is essentially going to be a large hole that will the edged with some garden edging so that it will hold water for at least a short amount of time. It's a lot of work to make it, but it's coming along nicely.

Thursday- Today I worked with Amanda and I only had to do Bongo, Zebras, and Cats which was nice. I quickly cleaned the bongo yards, said good morning to everyone and then a very special good morning to the birthday girl Annakiya who turned 9! She didn't seem to notice it was her birthday. After that I went off with Amanda to clean the cat building

When the cat building was clean I went off to go work in bongo again, but this time with the zoo camp kids. We only had them for an hour so I put them to work stripping the stalls. They did a good job and cooperative. After they were done I gave them some bamboo so that they could feed the bongos, which I think was a good reward for their hard work.

The rest of the day I spent my time getting browse for many of the animals and then did some other small projects around the department.

Friday- Free Fun Friday! This day was when admission to the zoo was free for everyone, which makes it packed. The day is sponsored by the Highland Foundation. They sponsor many different free days at different locations in MA. It's good for people that can't afford to go to these places normally, and it gives them a chance to get out.

What that means for us is tons and tons of people. In the morning we quickly cleaned up all the barns so that we could devote the rest of the day to the visitors. Since there are so many people there are often kids that get lost in the crowds that we need to help find, or help find their parents, or sometimes when it's really hot people get heat stroke. There's also just answering questions, picking up trash, making sure that people aren't abusing the animals.

That was what pretty much the rest of my day consisted of. We took walks around the zoo about every 45 minutes and took care of some problems. I haven't gotten the official word of how many people were at the zoo that day, but I did hear unofficially there were 22,000 people that visited over the course of the day. That's a lot considering we normally have about 2,000.

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