Wellington Zoo

What I did?

wellington1I helped the keepers:

  • care for the animals,
  • feed the animals
  • clean their enclosure
  • administer medication
  • train the animals (mainly for them to be accustomed to people and vet checks)
  • help create enrichment (create toys so that the animals don't get bored)

I worked with all of the zoo's animals and that meant I hand fed red pandas, otters, capuchin and spider monkeys, sun bears, golden tamarins, kiwis, giraffes from a ladder, and more... Of course lions, tigers, chimpanzees, the most dangerous animals, were always fed and trained behind bars.




I have to admit my favorite animals (to my surprise) were the cockatoos (birds) which needed much affection and were quite intelligent. Oh and my other favorite were the peccaries (yes pigs)! The keeper had trained them to do so many things such as standing behind a line before they were allowed one by one to go through a door leading to their den. It was so neat, they each had their own personality, for example "miss piggy" was the quick one and she always tried to put her leg in front of the line to be first in the den, we had to repeat 3x so that she got the point that she had to be equal with the rest. There was also "dopy" the slow one, he always had to look at the other to understand what was going on, and he was last at every excercise! It was just funny to see that these animals just like us have very distinct personalities!


What I learned?

I realized that the animals there actually have a pretty good life. It was completely different from what I saw the last time I went to a zoo when I was 5 yrs old when zoos at the time were used as entertainment for people rather than for conservation and education. I remember how they had "tea party with monkeys" where you'd have to pay to sit at a round table and have tea with monkeys that were chained up to their seats! Things have changed, basically even though they are wild animals, they are kind of like the "pets" of the zoo, their keepers definitely see them that way and it's easy to get attached to them. I can definitely see myself as a zoo vet, since I'm quite interested in preventitive medicine and animal nutrition, which is key to keeping animals healthy at the zoo!