For the past year I've given many hours and many Tuesdays to a wonderful zoo, by volunteering in the kitchen making the diets for the animals in the zoo. I've had such a wonderful time in the kitchen and learning about the animals. I've learned a whole lot about zoos and animals and their diets. Here's what I've learned the past year.
The zoo is part of the AZA, Association of Zoos and Aquariums and many of our animals are part of the program. The mission of this program is to manage the specific species populations.The species being managed are often either threatened or endangered and must be conserved in order to ensure their survival. This means the zoo has breeding plans, above is a picture of our Jaguar Inka with her new cubs born at the zoo this spring they are Inka's First cubs. You can learn more about Inka and daddy Zean here.
I learned very fast that it's easy to fall in love with all the animals. I took a liking to one animal right away - the zoos prehensile-tailed porcupine named Fin. You've most likely seen videos on youtube of these little guys eating and making cute little noises and yes they really do that, I learned that fin loves bananas and he loves to peel them himself. One of my favorite things about Fin is his little pig like nose. You can learn more about Fin here.
Another thing I learned at the zoo is that nothing can get done without the team work that comes from the keepers. So much work goes into taking care of all the animals in the zoo, and all the keepers know about every animal that lives in the zoo and they work so hard day and night to make sure the animals are safe and healthy. Even during the cold seasons and snow and ice on the ground keepers will stay at the zoo together to make sure everyone is happy and fed. The keepers show so much love for every creature in the zoo and you can see it when you walk by and see how happy the animals are.
Just because these animals call a zoo home doesn't mean they are babied and they are not unhappy here, some of our animals have come to us hurt and go through rehab and call our zoo home so they can survive. Even when fed the keepers don't hand feed any of them like a lot of people think.
The biggest thing I learned from the zoo is how imported zoos are, so many people think zoos are a bad place and that animals are not happy there and they aren't treated right, please know this isn't true. Many zoos take pride in their animals and are trying to educate people about these animals and why we need to save them and the places they call home. They show people that these animals are not meant to be pets and that they play a role in keeping the environment balanced in many ways. They called this plantet home long before we did and we have no right to take it from them and make them give their lives up for us. We should be fighting to save their homes. Zoos educate people on how to do that, how to cut back on ways that hurt the places some of these animals call home.
The zoo does lots of other things with the animals Enrichment for example involves providing animals with elements or objects that enhance their environment. The elements work to stimulate the senses and are often made to target specific aspects of an animal’s biology and natural behavior. You can learn a lot more about how the zoo does that here.
The biggest thing I learned about zoo's from being at this zoo for the past year, is this zoo's are very much needed to educate the people who need to know why we need to protect and save these animals and the places they call home. Zoos are no prisons for animals most zoo's take so much pride in their animals and do everything they can to make sure the animals are happy and healthy much like I stated before saying how hard the keepers work. A zoo's main job is to educate the people! If their is a local zoo near you, please go check it out and learn about the animals and why they call the zoo home, learn about their natural home and how to protect them and then find out if there are ways you can help.
Please enjoy more pictures I've taken from the zoo, if you want to learn more about the zoo you can read about it here.