Monthly Archives: July 2013

Level Up!

Holy heart failure Batman! Today was an amazing day at the safari! The head of the department came up to me before we started the day and told me that it was my responsibility to shift the bears from their indoor enclosures to their outdoor ones—for those of you not familiar with the process of shifting zoo animals, this is a big responsibility and something that you don’t take lightly. It may seem simple to open a door, let an animal walk outside, and close the doors behind them, but there are a thousand and one things that can go wrong. Additionally, opening the doors usually puts you in close proximity to the animals, which can be very dangerous if the animal tries to reach out and grab you.

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Fortunately, shifting the bears went off without a hitch and both the department head and a keeper were watching my every move in case something should go wrong. It felt amazing to be trusted with such responsibility and I feel that I have reached a new level trust with the safari. I would like to give a big shout out to Cheryl Frederick and Sarah Cunningham, two of my professors at Unity College, for preparing me for anything the zoo field can throw at me.

Can’t wait to head back to work tomorrow.

Until next time.

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Cultural Differences in the Zoological World

It struck me today while assisting in the second round of feeding that even in the zoological world there are a number of cultural differences that many people may be unaware of. Take for instance two species of animals in our collection, a raccoon and a porcupine. To most Americans these animals are common and we see them often, the raccoons getting into garbage and causing trouble in our backyards. And because they could have rabies, most of us avoid raccoons. Porcupines, though we may see them less often, are still pretty common and it is not too unusual to spot them.

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For the Israelis however, raccoons and porcupines are amazing oddities from a world away that they will never get to see, unless they visit the safari or make a trip to the United States and happen to see one of these animals. On the other hand, our herd of camels isn’t all that unusual to the people here in Tel Aviv. All you need to do is head out towards the nearby desert where there are Bedouin tribes who have camels—really a pretty common sight. However I thought the camels were amazing when I saw them for the first time. Because they are animals we don’t usually see in the United States, when I first arrived, “Awesome, we have camels!” is what I think I might have said.

Little things like this remind me how big and diverse the planet is and just how many amazing animals are out there!

Can you think of any animals that you see on a regular basis, in and around your house or work, which could be in a zoo somewhere on the other side of the world?

Until next time.

Inside the Fire

Today I truly learned what the expression “hot as hell” means. With clear blue skies overhead and not a cloud in the sky, the temperature climbed into near triple digits and the humidity was nearly unbearable. Top that off with moving lumber and supplies to the tiger exhibit that is currently under construction, and you have one heck of a day. I really miss Unity College right now, with all of its trees and shade everywhere; clouds that drift lazily across the sky promising rain; and a light breeze to brush against your face. Now that sounds like a nice day.

I asked one of the keepers, Tomell, if he thought it would rain here this summer; he looked at me and laughed. Apparently it doesn’t rain in Israel except for a couple of weeks in December! To all of those in Maine, heck even in New England, please tell me what the weather is like. I seem to have forgotten what rain is.

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On a happy note, Pedang our male tiger seems to be doing much better after his acupuncture and seems much more responsive–here’s hoping those pesky ear infections stay away from the big guy.

Until next time.

Baby on Board?

Today was a special day at the Safari because we had to weigh, perform an ultrasound, and check the overall health of one of our female tapirs, Passiflora. The keepers as well as the vet believe the tapir to be pregnant which would be amazing considering last year they had another tapir birth!

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I got to help with the weighing and observe the ultrasound, which for now remains inconclusive, though it did reveal that Passiflora is filled with fluid. Could there be a baby on board and coming into the world in the future? I certainly hope so!

On our way back to the department offices one of the keepers told me they also think that one of our adorable sand cat females could be pregnant, I guess summer time in Israel means babies, or the Safari is just lucky. Either way I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these possible mothers.

If either of the animals has babies what do you think we should name them?

Until next time.