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About Author: Camille

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Fine Feathered Friends

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!

Last week the interns were able to meet Nicole LaGreco and Ann Knutson at the Aviation Propagation Center (APC) located at the San Diego Zoo. Ms. LaGreco is an Animal Care Manager and Ms. Knutson is a Senior Keeper. Both Ms. LaGreco and Ms. Knutson help with the hand rearing of birds for the Zoo and Safari Park. Their jobs involve everything from incubation of eggs, to making food, to feeding chicks, and keeping extensive records.

Before she came to work at the San Diego Zoo as a Keeper in the APC, Ms. LeGreco originally wanted to work with primates! After her first internship at the Philadelphia Zoo, she found that working with primates just wasn’t the right fit for her; however, she knew she still wanted to work with animals in some capacity. She worked at the Atlanta Zoo for 8 years before she moved to San Diego to work as a Keeper in the APC to gain more hands on experience with animals. Once Ms. LeGreco saw the passion her boss had for birds she began to share that same passion.

Ms. Knutson always knew she wanted to work with animals, with that in mind she got a General Biology degree from UCSD. Originally she wanted to go into field research and got an internship in Texas with the Institute for Wild Bird Populations. Through her internship she learned that she wanted to make more of a day to day impact and decided to become a zoo keeper. Ms. Knutson worked at the Austin Zoo, and then moved to the Sedgwick County Zoo as a Lead Penguin Keeper for 6 years before transferring to San Diego in 2012 to work in the APC.

What does working in the APC entail exactly? The APC receives eggs from the Zoo that do not have parents to properly care for them. The eggs are then sent into the incubation room where they are kept at the right temperature and humidity. Each egg is either hand rotated by the keepers, or by machines, to ensure proper development of membranes in the shell. On average eggs are supposed to lose about 15% of their weight due to evaporation. So, during incubation the keepers track the weight loss about twice a week, if the egg is not gradually losing weight it means the embryo is not developing correctly and changes must be made to the temperature and humidity of the incubator. Keepers also do something called candling in which they shine a bright light into an egg to monitor the chick’s development and determine if they are close to hatching. Once eggs are close to hatching they are moved from the incubation room to the hatching room.

After an egg has hatched, they are moved into the brooder room. It is here that keepers create and hand feed chicks. However, the keepers in the APC must be very careful when working with the chicks otherwise there is a chance imprinting could occur. To avoid that problem keepers wear big sheets over their heads or use sock puppets when interacting with the chicks. Another large part of working in the APC is record keeping. From the day they receive the egg to the day the bird is sent to an enclosure, records are kept on their weight and overall health as well as what they eat. These records are very important for creating protocol for a certain species, which can be used for the new eggs they receive.

The APC is a great place for gaining hands on experience with birds! If you have a passion for birds following a career path like Ms. LeGreco’s or Ms. Knutson’s might be for you. Hand rearing these birds from eggs to adulthood is a very rewarding and worthwhile profession for anyone who wants to make an impact on an animal’s daily life.

Camille, Careers Team
Week Six, Fall 2015

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Spotting Giraffe Extinction Before It’s Too Late

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, then blog about their experience online. Follow their adventures here on the Zoo’s website!

It would be pretty safe to say that most of us know what giraffes are. They’re pretty hard to miss, and they hold a special place in our hearts as one of the iconic African plains animals. The irony? We know very little about them. Giraffes are a surprisingly unstudied species. We’re not sure how they communicate, why they fight, or where they travel. We’re not even sure how many subspecies there are, with estimates ranging from six types to nine.

Community-based Conservation Ecologist David O’Connor works with just one subspecies, the reticulated giraffe. When he started his field work, he was just a researcher, following and recording the giraffes’ movements and taking notes of their social patterns. He reevaluated the purpose of his study when he walked into neck snare – a trap set by poachers to kill giraffes. When he got out of the trap, he decided he wanted to focus on giraffe conservation instead of species research.

Upon investigation, he found that the outlook for wild giraffes was grim. Giraffes are being poached for their meat and parts, even in protected areas. Eleven giraffes are killed every day. At this rate, they will be extinct in the wild by 2020. They are already gone from seven countries where they used to roam.

Mr. O’Connor is working hard to change their fate, spending several months every year in northern Kenya to conserve giraffes in their natural habitat. His official work partners include the Northern Rangelands Trust and the Giraffe Center in Nairobi, but he says that his most indispensable allies are the native Samburu peoples. The Samburu are pastoralists, which means that they graze their animals out on open land with no fences or boundaries. The livestock and the people live with the wildlife; it is not uncommon for a herd of domestic goats to be grazing with a herd of giraffes, zebras, or even elephants. This huge overlap between people and animal means that the support of local communities is key to successfully saving a species.

A big part of Mr. O’Connor’s work now is surveying the Kenyan people. By understanding native people’s thoughts about giraffes, he hopes to better predict and affect their behaviors towards the species. The first step of this process is learning why there is a demand for a product like giraffe meat. This is the root of the problem. Once this is understood, Mr. O’Connor can figure out how to combat or eliminate the demand.

What Mr. O’Connor has found is that the Samburu, and other locals, have very positive feelings about giraffes. They like seeing the beautiful creatures out on the plains. But some of these people are still poachers. Why? As it turns out, none of the poachers want to be killing giraffes, they just need a job with a stable income to support their families. Knowing this, giraffe conservation centers and national parks are able to reach out to some of the poachers and employ them. With their new jobs, the poachers do exactly the opposite of what they did initially; they protect giraffes and educate others as to why poaching is not the way to go, and why giraffes are worth much more alive than dead.

In addition to his surveying, Mr. O’Connor works closely with others who are dedicated to giraffe conservation in Kenya. There is extensive research sharing and education of the public to help spread an understanding of giraffes.

Mr. O’Connor is also able to continue researching the giraffes, like he had originally set out to do. His current project investigates the effects of Samburu livestock on giraffe feeding grounds. Many of the Samburu are making the switch from cattle herding to camel herding because of terrible droughts, and Mr. O’Connor is looking to see if the camels have any overlap with giraffe browsing range. He collects most of his data through vehicle based surveys, following the giraffes across the savannahs to learn about where and what they eat.

In the future, Mr. O’Connor would like to hire locals to help with field work, use camera traps to better track down the elusive giraffes, and use DNA analysis to pin down exactly the number of giraffe subspecies. Another hope for the future is that all these conservation efforts will pay off, and the giraffe will be brought back from the brink of extinction. With the help of the native people, it looks like gentle giants will be able to stay an icon of the African plains for many years to come.

Naomi, Conservation Team
Week Five, Fall 2015

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The Science of Pathology

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!

Camille_W5_picHave you ever wondered what happens to the animals at the Zoo after they pass away? Well, last week the interns had a firsthand look through the necropsy and histology buildings at the San Diego Zoo’s hospital. Our guide through the necropsy and histology buildings was Megan McCarthy. Dr. McCarthy is a DVM Pathology Resident at the San Diego Zoo.

So what exactly is pathology? Before our trip into the necropsy and histology, Dr. McCarthy gave the interns a presentation all about veterinary pathology, and the roles that those in the field play at the Zoo. Pathology is, essentially, the study of viruses and diseases. The pathologists at the Zoo perform necropsies or “animal autopsies” to identify the cause of death in collection and non-collection animals that die on the Zoo’s premises. Pathologists study and examine the sample tissues they extract during the necropsy to identify any traces of disease that had not been seen during the actual autopsy itself. Even though most people do not know about veterinary pathology, the work they do is extremely important to keeping the collection animals at the Zoo healthy and avoid any possible outbreak of disease.

For most Zoo visitors, the process that animals go through after they die is not something on their mind. However, the process is also very necessary to ensure the health of all the animals residing at the Zoo. After an animal passes, they are first sent to the necropsy building. It is here that the animal is delicately examined to identify any signs of disease that can be seen with the naked eye. Dr. McCarthy performed a necropsy on a feeder rabbit in order to show the interns some of the processes as well as what they look at when they try to discern the cause of death. During the necropsy, small samples of each organ are taken and sent to the histology department. Once the samples are delivered to the histology department, they are made into small slides that are stained to be once again examined by the pathologists. A variety of different stains are used in order to reveal cell types, infections, or foreign substances in the animal’s tissues that were too microscopic to be identified during the gross necropsy. If you have ever had your tonsils removed, they would go through a similar process to be made into slides.

What about diseases that can be transferred from non-collection animals that die on Zoo premises? To prevent cases like that from happening, all animals that die near or within the Zoo are examined in the necropsy building. Birds are also placed inside a special hood designed to contain pathogens to prevent bird flu from being transmitted to people. The pathologists are also always on the lookout for the West Nile virus. As you might already know, West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes and can infect both animals and humans. So the pathologists at the Zoo perform necropsies on non-collection animals to ensure nothing like West Nile can be spread to the animals in the collection or to the human visitors.

The professionals working at the Zoo know all too well how unavoidable death is, which is why Veterinary Pathologists are so valuable in a zoo type setting. If an animal is ill and dies, the pathologists can identify the exact cause of death and prevent disease from spreading to the other animals in the collection. How an animal is treated after they die is just as important as how they are treated alive.

Camille, Real World Team
Week Five, Fall Session 2015

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Conservation Kitchen

Zoo InternQuest is a seven-week career exploration program for San Diego high school juniors and seniors. Students have the unique opportunity to meet professionals working for the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and the Institute for Conservation Research, learn about their jobs, and then blog about their experience online. Follow their adventures here on the Zoo’s Website!

Camille_W4_picThe nutrition of the animals is a top priority for the personnel working at the Zoo and Safari Park. Last week the interns got to meet with Michael Schlegel, the Director of Nutritional Services, and Katie Kerr, an Associate Nutritionist for the San Diego Zoo. They are two of three nutritionists in charge of creating and adjusting the diets for over 7,000 animals! The work that they do helps ensure each animal is receiving the proper nutrients they need to live a long and healthy life. The interns got to see just a few of the animals in their care as they took us on a miniature tour of the Zoo.

So, how does nutrition help with conservation efforts? Well first of all, when the animals have healthy diets it increases the species sustainability as healthy animals are more likely to reproduce.

The Nutritionists take special care to replicate each animal’s natural diet to make sure they are getting everything they need. If an animal does not receive all the nutrients they need, they run the risk of becoming sick; which is why the job of a Nutritionist is so important to a zoo! When an animal does fall ill, Dr. Schlegel and Dr. Kerr can adjust and create new diets to help the animal have a fast and safe recovery. The health of each animal at the Zoo and Safari Park is an important part of the overall conservation of their entire species.

In addition to developing diets for animals that are sick, Dr. Schlegel and Dr. Kerr can create diets for reproductive purposes. When they are creating these diets they try to maintain proper levels of vitamin A and E to help with the fertility of the animals. The female animals that are ready to breed also need to maintain a healthy weight to help regulate their cycles and fertility. The Nutritionists just recently needed to change the diets of the elephants at the Zoo. They found that if the elephants were overweight then their calves would be too large which resulted in difficulties during birth. They also recently changed the diets for the southern white rhinos. The phytoestrogen that were once in their diets were removed and replaced with beta-carotene to help with their reproductive health. Each individual diet has a very significant impact on the reproduction rates for the animals at the Zoo and the Safari Park.

The work that the nutritionists do also serves to help with environmental conservation. When there is a team of nutritionists creating the diets there is significantly less waste produced. They are able to streamline the whole process of what foods are to be purchased and where it is to be purchased from. They also lower the Zoo’s carbon footprint by purchasing the extra meat from processors making products for human consumption.

The job of a nutritionist is never done, as they are always working to maintain and improve the health and happiness of the animals at the Zoo. They are also a very important piece of the puzzle in regards to the many conservation efforts the Zoo and Safari Park have in place. What can we do to help in these efforts? One option is being aware of your carbon footprint that is created when food products are shipped long distances. Buying local and in season can assist in significantly lowering your footprint!

Camille, Conservation Team
Week Four, Fall 2015

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Bushels of Fun

Zoo InternQuest is a seven-week career exploration program for San Diego high school juniors and seniors. Students have the unique opportunity to meet professionals working for the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and the Institute for Conservation Research, learn about their jobs, and then blog about their experience online. Follow their adventures here on the Zoo’s Website!

Food, glorious food! Interns this week were able to get an insider’s look at the Nutritional Services Department. The experience was guided by Deborah Lowe, the Nutritional Services Supervisor at the San Diego Zoo. Ms. Lowe led the interns through each individual building of the expansive warehouses and provided them with a look into what the department does every day to ensure the health and safety of the animals living at the Zoo.

On the right is Ms. Katie Kerr, an Associate Nutritionist at the San Diego Zoo, and on the left is Ms. Deborah Lowe. Ms. Kerr and Ms. Lowe both work on providing the animals at the Zoo with every dietary need they may have.

On the left is Ms. Katie Kerr, an Associate Nutritionist at the San Diego Zoo, and on the right is Ms. Deborah Lowe. Ms. Kerr and Ms. Lowe both work on providing the animals at the Zoo with every dietary need they may have.

The interns started their adventure by going into the forage warehouse. This warehouse is the decentralized kitchen for the Zoo and is where Ms. Lowe and the other personnel of the Nutritional Services Department prepare meals for the animals. The warehouse contains three separate areas, one for meat and one for produce, as well as the bird kitchen. Everything kept here is restaurant quality so the animals always have the best possible foods.

The interns started their adventure by going into the forage warehouse. This warehouse is the decentralized kitchen for the Zoo and is where Ms. Lowe and the other personnel of the Nutritional Services Department prepare meals for the animals. The warehouse contains three separate areas, one for meat and one for produce, as well as the bird kitchen. Everything kept here is restaurant quality so the animals always have the best possible foods.

Safety of the animals living at the Zoo is top priority for Ms. Lowe and the Nutritional Services Department. As such, before the interns walked around in the forage warehouse they first had to scrub their shoes to get rid of any potential contaminates. Everyone had to make sure they got the water nice and sudsy to get the best wash possible.

Safety of the animals living at the Zoo is top priority for Ms. Lowe and the Nutritional Services Department. As such, before the interns walked around in the forage warehouse they first had to scrub their shoes to get rid of any potential contaminates. Everyone had to make sure they got the water nice and sudsy to get the best wash possible.

Next, the interns went into the special produce refrigerator in the forage warehouse. The meat and the produce items are always kept separate to prevent contamination of foods. The Nutritional Services Department has to make produce orders four times a week to keep up with the needs of the various animals at the Zoo.

Next, the interns went into the special produce refrigerator in the forage warehouse. The meat and the produce items are always kept separate to prevent contamination of foods. The Nutritional Services Department has to make produce orders four times a week to keep up with the needs of the various animals at the Zoo.

The produce refrigerator also holds pumpkins! When the interns discovered these Ms. Lowe shared with them how enjoyable they are for the animals. Volunteers along with the keepers come in to carve and paint the pumpkins before they are delivered to the enclosures for the animals to find and play with.

The produce refrigerator also holds pumpkins! When the interns discovered these Ms. Lowe shared with them how enjoyable they are for the animals. Volunteers along with the keepers come in to carve and paint the pumpkins before they are delivered to the enclosures for the animals to find and play with.

After the produce freezer, Ms. Lowe led the interns to the meat freezer. Any intern brave enough to enter the freezer was quickly greeted with temperatures at -4 degrees Fahrenheit. As one may guess, this was a stark contrast to the sunny Southern California weather the interns are normally accustomed to.

After the produce freezer, Ms. Lowe led the interns to the meat freezer. Any intern brave enough to enter the freezer was quickly greeted with temperatures at -4 degrees Fahrenheit. As one may guess, this was a stark contrast to the sunny Southern California weather the interns are normally accustomed to.

Much to our surprise, when we went into the next food storage area, we found items very similar to those in our own pantries! The Nutritional Services Department use crunchy Skippy Peanut Butter to hide medications to give to the animals. Why crunchy? If the peanut butter was smooth then the animals would be able to pick out the medication.

Much to our surprise, when we went into the next food storage area, we found items very similar to those in our own pantries! The Nutritional Services Department use crunchy Skippy Peanut Butter to hide medications to give to the animals. Why crunchy? If the peanut butter was smooth then the animals would be able to pick out the medication.

After our tour of the forage warehouse the interns had the opportunity to venture into the forage grain room. This space holds specialty items such as dry dog and cat food for the birds at the Zoo. The forage grain room was also one of the first buildings in the Zoo when it was established 99 years ago!

After our tour of the forage warehouse the interns had the opportunity to venture into the forage grain room. This space holds specialty items such as dry dog and cat food for the birds at the Zoo. The forage grain room was also one of the first buildings in the Zoo when it was established 99 years ago!

This dry primate food is one of many specialty items found in the forage grain room. Ms. Lowe shared with the interns how the Nutritional Services Department buys all of their products in bulk and stores them in case of emergencies. If the Zoo is unable to receive deliveries they have enough food to get them through the emergency situation.

This dry primate food is one of many specialty items found in the forage grain room. Ms. Lowe shared with the interns how the Nutritional Services Department buys all of their products in bulk and stores them in case of emergencies. If the Zoo is unable to receive deliveries they have enough food to get them through the emergency situation.

The interns then had the opportunity to venture into the Nutritional Services Department’s bug room. The room itself is fairly small but sure does pack a whole lot of bugs. This tiny but mighty room is home to three different types of worms as well as live crickets. Birds, primates, and Tasmanian devils are just a few of the animals at the Zoo who enjoy eating these bugs.

The interns then had the opportunity to venture into the Nutritional Services Department’s bug room. The room itself is fairly small but sure does pack a whole lot of bugs. This tiny but mighty room is home to three different types of worms as well as live crickets. Birds, primates, and Tasmanian devils are just a few of the animals at the Zoo who enjoy eating these bugs.

When we entered the bug room Ms. Lowe showed them the live worms that are kept there. One type of worm in particular, the mill worm pictured above, is said by many to taste somewhat like buttered popcorn. However, none of the us were quite brave enough to try one of the worms out.

When we entered the bug room Ms. Lowe showed them the live worms that are kept there. One type of worm in particular, the mill worm pictured above, is said by many to taste somewhat like buttered popcorn. However, none of the us were quite brave enough to try one of the worms out.

Camille, Photo Team
Week 3, Fall 2015

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Baby Bonanza

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!

Camille_W2_picThis past Thursday, the interns had the great opportunity to meet Becky Kier, a senior Neonatal Assisted Care Unit Keeper (NACU) at the San Diego Zoo. Every day, the NACU team works with the various baby animals that fall into their care due to injury or infection, maternal neglect, or the mother has inadequate milk supply. Each case is unique and requires full dedication from the team to ensure recovery and rehabilitation for the babies.

Before Ms. Kier became a NACU Keeper at the Zoo, she originally wanted to become a Park Ranger. With that in mind, she went to UC Davis and earned her degree in Environmental Planning and Management. Once she found that being a park ranger was not the best fit for her, she received a position at the San Diego Zoo in the Children’s Zoo. It was then that she volunteered to assist in rearing of the hoof-stock at the Zoo, and eventually, had the opportunity to start helping out with caring for the babies. After getting her hands on it, Ms. Kier was hooked and transferred into the NACU.

Working in the NACU is a very tough and demanding job. Everything must be lined up for proper care of the babies. Each day, Ms. Kier must mark who is who if they have a litter of animals in the nursery. This provides the keepers with a method to identify the order of which animals need to be fed, and the time frame of their last feeding. Weights of the animals need to be taken every morning and throughout the day so the keepers are able to make the proper amount of formula for that day. They also need to take the temperatures of the babies to make sure they are not in need of medical assistance. Next up is bottle feeding; however, before this is done the keepers must determine the correct nipple that will fit the animal’s mouth and the right flow of milk. After feeding time, the babies are burped and manually relieved by the keepers, which sometimes requires the keepers to wipe a damp washcloth across the animal’s backside. The keepers then administer any medications the veterinarians have prescribed for the animals. Then it is time to clean and sterilize the bottles and make the formula for the next day. One of the most important parts of the daily routine is record keeping. These records that they keep provide the keepers at the San Diego Zoo and other zoos across the globe a valuable baseline of how to properly care for the new babies they receive.

In addition to their daily routines, the NACU keepers are constantly thinking ahead. How can they prepare the babies for their futures? Will they be raised with more human interaction to become animal ambassadors, or will they return to their family groups? If they are returning to their family group, what is the best method of reintroduction for the species? The NACU keepers must determine the answers to all of these questions and more to ensure that the babies they take care of live a prosperous life.

With all the hard work and long hours that comes with the territory of being a NACU keeper, it also proves to be a very rewarding experience. The team that works in the NACU have the unique opportunity to work with numerous species of animals at the Zoo and learn new information every day. Ms. Kier also gets the opportunity to watch the babies improve and grow up to have their own families. Some animals even remember the people who helped raise them and form special bonds with those keepers. Plus, how many people can say they had the chance to bottle feed a baby tiger on their lap!

Camille, Careers Team
Week Two, Fall 2015

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Primate Power!

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!

 Camille_W1_picOur first week as interns started off with a bang when we met with Kim Livingstone, a Lead Keeper for the Primate Department at the San Diego Zoo. As we spoke with Ms. Livingstone, the interns were able to get a great view of both the bonobos and gorillas from above.

From a very young age, Ms. Livingstone knew she wanted to pursue a job working with animals. And pursue she did! She drove across the United States stopping at different zoos, and spoke with any zoo employee that would meet with her. Ms. Livingstone started working at the San Diego Zoo in 1988 as a bird keeper, which comes as a surprise for most since she is now the Lead Keeper for the Primate Department. As a keeper, Ms. Livingstone and her team enrich the exhibits with stimuli for the animals, clean the enclosures, prepare food, provide them with medications as well as look after their health, and train the animals in their care.

As most people may know, primates are very similar to humans, not only genetically but behaviorally as well. Ms. Livingstone shared with us that they give human birth control pills to some of their female primates because they are so similar to us! There are even primates at the Zoo that act like children when it comes to taking their medicine, so the keepers have to crush up the medication and hide it in their food. There is a bonobo named Molly that is particularly suspicious of medication being hidden in all of her food so everything she eats is closely inspected before she puts it in her mouth. Just like people, Ms. Livingstone also shared with us how bonobos can show empathy and are able to reconcile after a big fight. Primates, bonobos especially, can be seen laughing and smiling together as they play with their siblings and close friends of the troop. Another similarity between primates and humans is that individuals have completely different personality types just like us!

Ms. Livingstone is very passionate about the conservation of bonobos in their natural habitat. One project that she is especially interested in is Lola Ya Bonobo. The project, based in Kinshasa in the Dominican Republic of the Congo, aims to rehabilitate bonobos that have been in the pet trade, and then hopefully, rerelease them back in the wild. The volunteers that work on this project educate those that live near the bonobos, and their specific importance to the habitat around them. They also educate and hire former poachers to protect the bonobos they have rehabilitated from others who want to poach and sell them for profit.

A major message that Ms. Livingstone gave us at the end of our time with her was that we all need to be more conscious of what we buy and where it all comes from. In the case of orangutans, they face deforestation of their habitat because developers and businesses are cutting down their forests to plant palms used for making palm oil. This palm oil can be found in certain products like shampoo, chocolate, and detergent. Take the time to check where certain products come from, and try to buy fruits and veggies that are in season and local in your area. Investing the time to become educated about what we consume and buy is crucial for the conservation of these intelligent and wonderful animals.

Camille, Real World Team
Week One, Fall 2015

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Just Call Me Conservation Camille

 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 jobs, and then blog about their experience online. Follow their adventures here on the Zoo’s website!

Camille_profileHello everybody! My name is Camille, and I an extremely excited about joining Zoo InternQuest. As this is my senior year of high school, this is the perfect opportunity for me to learn more about careers working with animals.

My interest in animals began at a very young age when I started collecting animal “fact books.” Much to the dismay of the adults around me, I would prattle off every new fact I would learn. I even wore various cat ear headbands every day from kindergarten all the way through the third grade. So you can pretty much say animals have always had a large impact in my life. Ultimately, I aspire to go into a career in animal conservation and work in breeding programs for endangered species.

In addition to my love of animals, I also love to be on stage. I particularly enjoy performing in musicals through my school or in the community, as well as singing in my school’s Treble Choir. When I am not on stage or busy with school work I can be found hanging out with my youth group, listening to Korean Pop music as well as watching Korean Dramas with my friends, or going along with whatever hilarious adventure comes my way.

Once again, I would just like to say how excited I am to be a part of this program. I hope that you will follow me on this fantastic journey and learn about the amazing world that we live in. Let’s go!

Camille
Profile, Fall 2015