Sorry it has been so long since my last post. Things down here have been a little crazy with the end of the summer approaching so quickly. I have been working on a time intensive intern project and my family came down to see me! But more about that later. When I last left you , I was finishing up my time in the Primate area.
My last week with the Primates was a great one! I got to do my usual tasks with helping with feeding and training, but I also got to see other really cool procedures. The Orangutans at the zoo are some of the only ones in the country that will voluntarily let keepers check their blood pressure. Since keepers always have protected contact with the animals, it is extremely important that the animals want to do it voluntarily. They have special tough cuffs made for the orangutans that is made out of material that the orangutans cannot break. These cuffs are like our blood pressure cuffs that you and I wear when we go to the doctor’s office, just a little more heavy duty with the extra durable material. Our males, KJ and Mukah will participate in the sessions and our female Mei will do the same. The keepers can also use a similar finger tester to test the blood pressure from the fingers of the orangutans. These are very important readings because like humans, the leading cause of death in apes, such as orangutans, is cardiac disease.
I also got to see the x-ray device that was created at the zoo for lemurs. Our keepers again trained our lemurs to walk onto the x-ray platform voluntarily. This then allows a plate to be placed next to the machine in order to conduct the x-ray. We did not perform an x-ray, but it was still amazing to see the workmanship of the keepers. Their idea has been published and I am proud to say that our Ring Tailed Lemurs are the first lemurs to complete this procedure. The Primate program at the zoo is one of the best in the nation and it has been a privilege to get to work with the animals and the keepers.
I also continued watching the Coyote watches during my last days with the primates. The three photographed are Chester, Colt and Ruger. Chester is the one tucked away in the corner. Ruger is the one in front of him, and Colt is the one laying in the dirt. They are growing up so fast. When I walk on the public side of the exhibit, I can call them and Judge will come running to the fence line and roll around so that I can pet him. Since he is dominant, he is the most brave, but the others are learning not to be as shy. They are so fun to work with and will be all grown up before I know it! I feel like a proud mother watching her sons grow into respectable young men. That is kind of silly I know, but you really do form a bond with the animals you work with here.
Having my family down here for a week was really nice. I got to take them to my favorite food spots here in Waco and just spend some quality time swimming and hanging out. My favorite part was getting to take them on a behind the scenes tour of the zoo! To start off, they got to watch an orangutan training session with Mukah and Kutai. Then, they got to meet my sweet tiger Bimo and our lions Shamfa and Kai. Don’t worry, my family was a safe distance away from the mesh fencing. Next, they got to watch a training session with Tanya, one of our elephants, and give her a high-five! My nephew Landon thought that was pretty cool! We next made a stop so that they could pet our rhinos and finally ended the tour with a giraffe feeding session with our male Dane. You will learn more about him soon! I hope they enjoyed the animals as much as I do. It was great showing them all of the animals that have stolen my heart down here in Texas. Sharing my happiness with them is something I will never forget. It was definitely one of the most rewarding moments of my summer here. With the end quickly approaching, it is going to be very hard to leave all of my wonderful animals and they amazing people I have met.
Goodbye for now! Next stop hoof-stock! See y’all later!