Instead of our regular Featured Keeper for this month I interviewed three of our interns. Each of these ladies have been here for a different amount of time and can help you get a taste of what TWP is like as an entry level zoo keeper. These are the ladies I talked to:
How long have you worked at Tanganyika?
P: This is my second month working here.
K: I’m an intern and I’ve been working here since March.
S: I’ve worked here for about 5 months. Since March 1st.
Why did you choose to intern at TWP?
P: Because it seemed like a fun, friendly place to work and very family safe. The animals are where you can see them and the animal encounters, I thought, were something very special because a lot of zoo don’t have a lot of interactive animal areas.
K: Actually I just got on the website and found that they had an internship, I didn’t apply for the internship because I thought I was too old. So I applied for the deli job and then Lauren (our operations manager) e-mailed me about trying the intern position.
S: I visited the first year that the park was open and all the animals looked really happy. So, I decided I was going to go into zoological studies and I decided I was going to start here.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since starting here?
P: Probably that zoo keeping isn’t just about hanging out with animals. It’s also doing a lot of hard work for the benefit of the animals, it’s not just, “Oh hello, I’m going to come to work and hang out with a kangaroo today!!”
K: I have a better understanding and caring for animals. I understand conservation and what they are trying to do by saving endangered animals a lot more now. Just an all around caring and renewed passion for animals is what I gained. I grew up on a farm and have experience with farm animals, but I never imagined myself doing anything like this.
S: As an intern, I’ve learned about all the things that go on behind the scenes, like how we clean, how we care for the animals, and how specific all the diets are and have to be.
Who is your favorite animal in TWP?
P: If I had to pick I would probably pick either Freya the caracal since she’s super fun or Rica the roo because she’s awesome and likes hugs.
K: That is hard for me. I love giraffes, I love Savvy. Savvy is my favorite giraffe! I also love Sebastian. He’s probably my most favorite lemur. It’s hard for me to pick just one. I love Charlie the camel. Really just all of them. Rica. I don’t have a favorite, I like all of them. I can’t pick a favorite. I love all of them.
S: Oh, that’s a hard one. I would have to say that I have two favorites. The kangaroos are definitely one of my favorites just because they’re fun and there’s a lot of them so you get to learn all their different personalities which is tons of fun. Then I also really love the camels. I just love Charlie. Charlie and I are best friends.
Who is your favorite zoo keeper here?
P: I don’t know. It’s kind of hard to choose. Everyone has been so nice and helpful and everytime I work with a keeper they’re very open and friendly. I don’t know. Probably... I haven’t worked with Annemarie but I like her a lot. She’s really fun. I just don’t know. I like everyone. Is that okay? I don’t have a favorite.
K: I think it would have to be Deb. Deb has been very helpful. She always gives me little tips and little pointers. Just things I need to watch for and make sure I’m doing. I like how she knows about all the animals here and if I have a question I can go to her and she has the answer for me or she is willing to find the answer for me.
S: I don’t know. Tricia has some good insights because she started as an intern so she knows what we are all going through, but I laugh and joke a lot with Derrick. I don’t really know. I feel like I have to go with Derrick because I see him more and we hang out more.
What are your goals or dreams and how does Tanganyika help you achieve that?
P: My goal in life is to be a wildlife/large exotic animal vet. So, I’m here because I wanted to get exotic animal hours, I’m applying for vet school at the end of the summer, so hopefully this will be another thing that sets me apart from the rest of the candidates.
K: Well, hopefully I will get hired on full time here. That’s my dream, that’s my plan. I’ve never worked around people who are all so passionate about the same thing. They are big time team players, I think it’s great the way everyone works together and everyone gets along and they’re helpful and I couldn’t picture myself working anywhere else.
S: Well, Tanganyika is definitely my starting place. I feel like everyone has to start somewhere and I’ve started here. My dream used to be to into a sanctuary, I’m not sure where that stands right now, but I this is my starting place to step into the field. So I now know what I’m doing and it’s definitely given me the reassurance that this what I want to do.
Thanks to Karlynne, Shania, and Priscilla for taking part in this interview and for finding answers to some difficult questions. We appreciate all the work you put in and the variety of talents and skills that each of you bring to the table. I hope you all live out your dreams and look back at your time at TWP as a key point in you zoo keeping growth!