Zoo InternQuest is a career exploration program for high school students. For more information see the Zoo InternQuest journals. For more photos see Zoo InternQuest Photo Journal.
There are many ways that the San Diego Zoo promotes conservation of endangered species. Animal shows are one of them. By educating the public about the species, the Zoo promotes conservation in a fun and casual environment that all ages can understand. I have seen the show at the Zoo’s Wegeforth Bowl many times, and each time I do I am reminded of how very important each species is, no matter how small or unknown. The Wegeforth Bowl, a show stadium near the front of the Zoo, was named after the Zoo’s founder, Dr. Harry Wegeforth. He had a passion for animals, of course, and his favorite was the sea lion, which is featured in the show. We petted (and got a wet kiss from) one of these magnificent animals.
It’s hard to believe when you are watching them on stage that they are five to six hundred pounds, but when you are up close they are huge! Their eyes are very large, about the size of a golf ball, and they actually have very short fur. Kristi Dovich, Animal Training Manager at the Zoo, demonstrated the teaching method used by the trainers. Mechanical clickers make a noise that tells the animal that it did something right. The click means “you got it”. When an animal does a behavior correctly, the trainer clicks the clicker, praises and rewards the animal with food.
When anyone comes to the San Diego Zoo and watches the shows they are reminded of how uniquely adapted and beautiful each species is to the rest of the world. It inspires hope and promotes conservation, while providing a fun and exciting journey around the world and back to sunny San Diego.
-Wendy, Conservation Team