Friday, August 17, 2007
My name is Staci, and I’ve been a mammalogy volunteer since September of 2006. Marine mammals have always been my favorite animals, so you can imagine what a thrill it is for me to be able to work with them on a weekly basis! It’s a lot more work than you may think, but it’s definitely worth it. In my blog I will be talking about my experiences in mammalogy, as well as relevant conservation issues involving our amazing marine friends.
A typical day starts bright and early at 7:30 a.m. with our morning meeting. During this meeting, we discuss any new developments regarding any of the animals (medications, changes in behavior, etc.) and who will be covering the feeding/training sessions throughout the day. After the meeting, it’s off to the food preparation room to get our restaurant quality seafood sorted and ready for the day. Each animal gets a specific amount of food three to four times a day, so all of the food has to be examined for quality and weighed out into buckets. We also get their vitamins ready—the seals and sea lions swallow their food whole so we just put the vitamins in their fish. Sea otters, on the other hand, chew their food so we have to be a little sneaky with their vitamins—we put shrimp, clam, or squid in a blender and make them a nice smoothie. Then we grind up the vitamins and stir them right in! The rest of the day is spent doing a variety of duties such as cleaning the exhibits, making treats for the animals, scrubbing buckets, and cleaning the food prep room and utensils. I also get to help feed and maintain behaviors with the animals and assist in behavioral enrichment, observations, and special projects as needed.
I volunteer at the Aquarium of the Pacific for many reasons, but my huge affinity for marine mammals is at the top of the list! It’s a wonderful way to gain experience in the field, and I love learning from the dedicated husbandry staff here at the Aquarium. I also believe that having these magnificent animals on display for the public to see will help us to educate our visitors about the animals themselves, as well as the challenges these creatures face in their natural environment. I’m very passionate about conservation and doing everything we can to protect our environment, and hopefully the more people understand and appreciate our animals, the more eager they will be to get on board with our mission.
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All blogs and comments represent the views of the individual authors and not necessarily those of the Aquarium.