Beginning my summer as an Animal Care Intern at the Franklin Park Zoo I am utilizing the skills I have learned in my psychology and biology classes at Boston College. My courses have taught me different aspects of understanding behavior and how organisms interact within the environment. In the first two weeks this internship has allowed me to closely observe the animals in the Tropical Forest area. Using classical conditioning I am assisting in training different species to carry out certain behaviors, such as standing upright, opening their mouths, and moving in some direction; similar to teaching a dog new tricks. In doing this the animals better respond to veterinary treatments and form relationships with the zookeepers.
As a BC student I have an understanding of the Jesuit ideals and have been able to apply these to how I comprehend and approach my internship and all that it entails. Working in the Animal Care department at a AZA accredited institution gives me the responsibility of meeting the basic needs and more for the animals that are on display to the public and act as an integral part of fulfilling the zoo’s overall mission. I am able to be attentive to the necessary steps it takes to provide care for the animals, to be reflective on how my tasks are impacting not only their lives but also toward conservation as a whole, and to be loving toward the animals, my co-workers, and the environment. Together these three pillars of my Jesuit Education continue fuel the passion for my internship and to obtain the most out of my experience.
I am excited to explore more opportunities in the field of ethology and environmental science throughout the remainder of my time at the zoo.
Written by Savanna Kiefer, BC Class of 2017