By Kandace Griffin ’14
During the summer of 2013 I interned at the Good Zoo in Wheeling, WV.
I worked daily with each animal to prepare them for two common protocols during regular veterinary checks. By training these animals we can improve their overall welfare and keeper safety by reducing the risk of injury when working with large animals. Unfortunately, during my tenure one of the llamas I worked with became ill; however, when using my training technique, we were able to administer medications with ease.
“Every day provided a new challenge and required flexibility and growth.”
I assisted a team of zookeepers and zoo officials in daily care for various species such as red kangaroos, river otters, cotton top tamarins and lorikeets. The typical routine involved cleaning habitats, preparing diets, and educating guests. Perhaps my favorite aspect of daily upkeep was creating and providing enrichment and maintaining trained behaviors. I was also charged with the task to train our collection of donkeys and llamas for various husbandry procedures.
I absolutely loved my time at the Good Zoo, and hope to return to see the animals and keepers I worked with. I was able to apply the knowledge gained from biology courses, such as checking for parasites in routine samples, while applying techniques for conditioning I learned through my psychology courses.
This opportunity gave me insight into the responsibilities placed upon zoo professionals. While daily tasks seemed mundane, every day provided a new challenge and required flexibility and growth. Internships allow you to apply the concepts you learn in the classroom, while diving further into a topic that interests you.