So it finally happened, I joked about it for so long while skinning rats and gutting chickens and cutting up bunnies and deer and such. I was like I’m always covered in blood but I mean as long as it’s not mine we’re good. But then I sliced my finger open. And then I bled through the band aid. Oops.
But anyway, yesterday we had our trip to the Greensboro Science Center and it was actually so much cooler than I anticipated. We went behind the scenes in their aquarium section and got to see their holding areas their food prep their filters and such. We got to see some of their otters back in the holding area, they were pretty excited to show off for us. Then we also saw some of their penguins that have courted each other and are being kept off exhibit in hopes that they will mate and we saw the top view of their 90,000 gallon tank with their big sharks. It was really interesting to see the difference between the AZA facility and ours. I don’t think it’s necessarily better just different. I was really excited to go through and see all their animals but that’s just because they were different then ours. I felt the same way walking through the center for the first time. They have a bigger range of species than we have and they explained a lot of things to us about these species. They also have the two tigers that are owned by the center, so we went to see them and they do look very similar to their siblings that I was tempted to call the female Freya. One of the coolest things probably was a 2 head turtle. Basically this happened in the egg and this is essentially the Siamese twin of turtles. So I actually have a picture of this that you can see below.
And in their reptile amphibian section they had a plastic snake (that in my defense looked very real) in an open section that made a rattling noise when you walked past. It definitely startled me.
We also got to see behind the scenes in some of their other areas including their on site hospital and some of their other food prep areas. I saw a sign that I absolutely loved there. On the fridge it just said “Your quality of work is their quality of life” which is just so true an I think is something everyone from animal keepers to pet owners should consider. I also met their part time on site vet who owns his own mobile exotics practice. I had a moment where I just had to sit there and be like Dream Job Dream Job. Also very exciting was we got to go inside the building part of their gibbon enclosure where they feed them and they had their female come right up to the fence for us. This was completely amazing because she actually had a baby on July 11th and he is still holding on to her chest. (“He” I guess they don’t actually know the gender yet) and he was awake when we saw him. So precious with cute little ears and huge eyes, I’m sad I couldn’t take a picture in the feeding area. She did some outside later after it stopped raining but I still couldn’t get a good picture. Truly was adorable. This is the best I could do.
I also think I may have a new (almost) favorite species of cat -I honestly don’t think anything can replace tigers at #1. Sos it’s called the fishing cat and it’s a pretty inter they eat things other than fish like small mammals and such, but they hunt fish by lightly tapping the water to mimic insects and draw the fish to the surface. They are classified as an endangered species, and I was fortunate enough to get a pretty good picture of one. They are truly beautiful, I think they look like a combination of an ocelot and a jungle cat but they move like a serval. I know the one is a bit blurry but I was trying to capture her markings on her back.
The main difference I saw between our facility and theirs is the breeding of SSP species. So the SSP is a program, the Species Survival Plan. It’s an AZA program that is aimed at maintaining captive assurance populations of species that will soon no longer existence in the wild (for anyone familiar with the Pittsburgh Zoo an example of this is the clouded leopard that recently came on display). I’m not going to sit here and try to explain the breeding program or the species on it so here is a link to their program guidelines and such. https://www.aza.org/species-survival-plan-program/
So I am officially into my last week and hopefully will have the opportunity to take photos in the animal park soon.