Sunday, September 23, 2012

First Month of Internship

The past month I have been doing an internship at the Indianapolis Zoo.  It has been a great experience thus far, extremely exhausting, but completely worth it.  I am working in the Forest Biome which consists of the brown bears, tigers, red pandas, muntjacs, gibbons, asain small-clawed otters, lemurs, and bats (although I can't work with the bats since I am not vaccinated for rabies).  I work alongside of the normal zookeepers and just help them with the work.  I clean the exhibits and holding areas, prepare their diets, feed them, help set up enrichment, and mainly watch but help a little with the animal training.  I think that pretty much summarizes what I do. 

While at the zoo I have been able to take a few pictures/videos with my phone.  They aren't always that great (they'll be better once I get my iPhone 5!!) but at least it is something to show and remember my experience!

One of the tigers, Andrea.  We have 3, 2 female and 1 male.  They are impressive looking animals.  They have HUGE shoulders and thick limbs.  Obviously we are not able to actually go in the cages with these guys but I get extremely close when I am with them in the holder areas.

This is one of the 2 brown bear.  We have 1 male and 1 female.  This is the female, Kiak.  She is the larger of the 2.  Same situation as the tigers, can't go in with them but I get VERY close in the holding area.  Whenever I am back with Kiak, she gets real close to cage wall and takes in really deep breaths like she is trying to smell/taste me and then smacks her lips, or something like that.  It can be kind of eery at times but the bears are probably one of my favorite animals so far.  They are so much fun to watch, especially when you give them different enrichments to play with.  They seem to be very playful/curious animals.   

These are some of the ring-tailed lemurs.  As you can see I am able to go in with these guys.  They are very active and bounce off of EVERYTHING, including me.  I had one jump off of a tree limb, off my back, then onto another tree limb once.  It was weird because I barely felt it.  I also love their hands, they are sooo soft.  I actually find that interesting since they are constantly hanging from things and such, but I love it when they put their hands on my leg when they come up to get food. 

This is Luke, a Collared lemur.  I loved him.  He actually got shipped off to another zoo shortly after I met him.  I have a bunch of videos I'll try to post later and one of them is of him eating a piece of banana, so funny!

This is a red-ruffed lemur.  They are probably one of my least favorite animals, only because they will randomly start this obnoxiously loud call.  It seriously is mind piercingly loud.  Whenever they start doing it I have to stop whatever I am doing and plug my ears.  It is the worst when you are inside with them (a foot away at times) because it echos off of the walls.  I would try to get a video of it sometime to try and show you the madness of it, but that would require me to have my ears unplugged for an extended period of time....  Besides their scream, or whatever you want to call it, I guess they are pretty cool.  I'll go in the cages with these guys as well and hand feed them.  They also have the really soft hands!

Another picture of Kiak.  Not sure if you can see it or not but she reaching for a piece sweet potato.  I try to scatter her food around and hide it in places so they have to work a little more and 'forage' for their food.  Plus it is cool to see them stand up like that! 

This is the male, Mi-Kal in the pool in their exhibit. 

This is Leela, one of the red pandas.  The keepers call her a crazy girl but she is one of my most favorite animals.  She is really cute and fun to feed and watch her eat (again, hopefully a video to come).

This is Jill, one of the keepers I work with feed one of the muntjacs, Rama.  We have 2 muntjacs, a father and son. 

Just last week we were sitting in with the ring-tails and one of the little girls, Rowan, decided to climb on my back.  It was pretty cool.  She was licking my head, ears, cheeks, and nose and even nibbled a little on my ear. Luckily it wasn't a bite!  I have a bunch of pictures of it because most of them didn't turn out so I just put them all on here.  Again, hopefully they will turn out better once I get a iPhone 5 with a better camera on it!!

This is Shannon, another one of the keepers.  Rowan spent some time with her as well. 

This is Reagan, the lone male in with the ring-tails. 


the Mom said...

As long as you don't get mauled, or killed, I think it's so cool that you get to go into the cages and interact with some of the animals. That red panda is a-dor-a-ble. And I loved that the one lemur (I think) was cleaning you off. :}

Clay and Katy said...

Brody and I looked at your post together (Jack was at school and I still need to show him) and we LOVED it! My favorite is the red panda...oh man is that one cute animal!!! So fun! Looks like you are getting some great experience! Too bad we arent still there to go visit you :(

Lyndsay said...

FINALLY!! I've been waiting and waiting for a post. Didn't think you were ever going to update us.

You got TONS of great pictures. I especially loved the last series of shots with the lemur, maybe. It looked like he was kissing you. =)

Keep updating us!!

Steve Peper said...

Oh, I'm glad you guys enjoyed it [= Hope you enjoy the videos as well!