Interning as an Animal Care Intern at the Franklin Park Zoo for the past ten weeks has given me the unique opportunity to work in close contact with a variety of exotic species. I have been able to explore the many aspects of animal care.
Throughout my internship, I was given the opportunity to conduct my own research project on the animal of my choosing. I chose to work with the Spotted Hyenas monitoring their behaviors in the exhibit and reactions to novel stimuli. The outcome of this project would be able to give the zoo valuable information concerning the care of the species and would maximize the amount of use the hyenas got out of their exhibit to increase their well-being. Through undergoing this project I was able to make an impact at the zoo beyond my time as an intern. This gave me a taste of the research aspect of animal behavior. I was able to explore the veterinary aspect of exotic animal care while observing the veterinarians when they would come to look after animals in the Tropical Forest Area. This included routine checkups on cotton top tamarins and gorillas, a pygmy hippopotamus ultrasound, drawing blood from a ball python, and looking after a duck with a swollen foot.
This internship has only continued to fuel my career interest in the field of exotic animals. I learned not only a plethora of animal facts and information, but also that though the work was highly physically demanding, if I am doing something I love that is pursuing my passions and working toward something much greater than my own personal enjoyment, such as conservation, what seemed like an difficult task becomes simple and enjoyable. I am going to take the invaluable knowledge I gained from working at the Franklin Park Zoo and apply it to my future endeavors in my future exotic animal career.
Written by Savanna Kiefer, BC Class of 2017