Zoo InternQuest is a seven-week career exploration program for San Diego County high school juniors and seniors. Students have the unique opportunity to meet professionals working for the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and Institute for Conservation Research, learn about their jobs, and then blog about their experience online. Follow their adventures here on the Zoo’s website!
This week we met with Torrey Pillsbury, Senior Keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Working out in the field, Ms. Pillsbury takes care of a myriad of animals from giraffes and rhinos, to various hoof stock species. She allowed us to go out with her to observe what her job requires on a daily basis. It was an amazing experience not only because of the new knowledge we learned, but also because of the encounters we had that just made us fall in love with these incredible animals even more. We all had a blast!
Since there are not any carnivores roaming around in the Safari Park field enclosures, the animals living out there are herbivores which means they eat, you guessed it, plants! It is part of Ms. Pillsbury’s job to make sure the animals get the proper diet suited for their nutritional needs.
When out in the field, it would be extremely challenging to identify individual animals without a form of identification. This is why every hoof stock animal has “ear notches” as diagramed in the picture. The location of each notch represents a certain number, which then allows the keepers to identify the animal based on the numbers the ear notches yield.
Interns Carly, Charlene, and Victoria get comfy on the truck before we head out into the field. Little do they know that they are in for a HUGE adventure out there!
Before going out into the field, our task was to strip acacia branches of their leaves. Giraffes enjoy acacia leaves very much, consuming about seventy-five pounds of foliage a day!
Interns Jade and Marcel are enjoying their last week of Zoo InternQuest. They look excited for the treat in store for them!
We found out that Indian Rhinos love apples very much! While we were feeding them, we could touch their skin and horns. Many people do not know that a rhino’s horn is the same substance as our finger nails.
The Safari Park is home to many giraffes, the tallest living land animal, growing up to sixteen to twenty feet tall! Each giraffe’s pattern of spots acts like its own unique fingerprint.
On February 25th, 2013, the Safari Park had a new addition of baby Southern White Rhinoceros. The baby rhino, Kayode, is enjoying his new life here with the other rhinos and animals in the field. He has quite the personality, that one!
It is not very hard to feed giraffes considering their tongues are eighteen to twenty inches long! Intern Jade, or rather our modern day Pocahontas, enjoys her experience with the giraffes ⎯ what a fun way to finish up the day!
Abby, Photo Team
Week six, Winter Session 2013