Laura is on a keeper exchange with the Taronga Zoo in Australia. Read her previous post, Rhinos in Australia.
Time really does fly when you are having fun! Last week, I was sitting in a meeting discussing giraffe physicals here at the Taronga Zoo. We are planning on training the giraffes on different behaviors so we don’t have to anesthetize them for routine medical procedures. I am working with the oldest female, Nyota, with one of the senior keepers.
As we talked about our training goals and when the procedure would be, I realized I won’t be here for the final outcome. I have been here almost five months, and it actually feels like I work here! You get so involved with the animals and their care, and you forget that the time is almost up. We decided that we would both be the primary keepers on Nyota’s training and then pass it off to someone else when I leave.
It has been so great having the chance to live in another country and work at another zoo. I have learned so much about training, enrichment, teamwork, new animals, and the list could go on and on. The experience will forever be on my mind and Australia in my heart. After I finish work, I will be traveling to some amazing places. I plan to spend two weeks traveling to the north and south islands of New Zealand and then heading up to dive the Great Barrier Reef for three days. Both the people and the animals here have been amazing.
I am thankful to my team back home in San Diego for supporting me, and I look forward to returning to the San Diego Zoo with new information and appreciation for my job.
Laura Weiner is a senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo.