As I was heading home from work the other day, it occurred to me that my average day is anything but average. Maybe that’s why I love this job so much! (Read Rick’s previous blog, Where’s that Elephant Odyssey Ambassador?)
During a meeting today at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, I walked in elephant footprints as I traversed the Asian elephant exhibit. Navigating the terrain, mud and grass weren’t the only natural obstacles, if you know what I mean. There is a certain primordial feel one gets when walking in the footsteps of such magnificent animals.
I have watched the elephants many times from the public observation areas before. However, I really got a better appreciation for how massive these animals are once I was on their level. Not only are the impressions in the soft soil something to admire, but I was also able to get a better idea for just how big their enrichment and log toys really are. Everything is on such a grand scale with elephants; you start to feel a little minuscule and almost insignificant in comparison.
My next meeting for the day was scheduled in Albert’s Restaurant at the San Diego Zoo. How many people can say they walk by flamingos on their way to a meeting? Better yet, how many people get to walk through a beautiful rain forest and past two young gorillas playing tag? For those of you not familiar with Albert’s, it is just past the Gorilla Tropics habitat, nestled in a very green and lush landscaped area. It is truly a perfect little get away of a restaurant that just so happens to be in the middle of the San Diego Zoo! (When you go there, be sure to read how Albert’s got its name.)
As I finished my day, I stopped by the Zoo’s elephant exhibit (pictured above) to watch Devi, Tembo, and Sumithi play with their enrichment items. I consider it another meeting with coworkers! Honestly, I can say this is an important part of my job, checking up on how the animals and keepers are doing. I also took a moment to stop by the anteater exhibit to see if I could catch a glimpse of the baby riding around on mom’s back. If you haven’t seen this, you really ought to head over there to check it out.
All in all, it was a very productive day as I set up future talks and presentations about Elephant Odyssey and stopped to look in on some of the animals. I think the next presentation will be Saturday evening for the Spring Member Appreciation Dinner (at Albert’s, of course!), so if you are there, please be sure you say “Hello.”
Rick Schwartz is the San Diego Zoo’s Elephant Odyssey Ambassador.