Today we spent the morning over at the Perth Zoo, doing one of their Behind the Scenes tours – this one of the Australian Animals.
The main reason we did this was to put some of the data we work with on a daily basis into perspective for the rest of the business. While I have a bit of experience in dealing with animals and plants, some of our staff don’t – and it is a very different experience to enter a record of Antaresia stimpsoni than it is to actually handle a Stimpsons Python, or even a Carpet Python, like the one Akeal is holding in the picture below.
Apart from snakes, which are one of my personal favourites, we also got to be involved with a range of other animals. We also were involved with feeding the Little Penguins, including having a hold and a pet of one of the hand-reared ones, Rocky. Penguins generally are a pretty charismatic group of birds so they’re pretty easy to enjoy spending some time with.
We got close to the resident Emu, and hand-fed a range of Grey and Red Kangaroos in the Australian Bushwalk exhibit. Our guide, Petra, works closely with the group of 18 ‘roos that they have on display at the Bushwalk, and she told us quite a bit about these guys in particular. The reds were a bit grabby – but I find it fun to interact with these guys (we also hand-raised one when I was growing up on the farm).
Then we got a real treat in spending a bit of time with the resident female Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombat, Cherub, while she was eating her breakfast, and then a bit of interaction with the lone dingo in the zoo. That pretty much concluded our hands-on tour, but not before Trisha the elephant came wandering past on her morning walk with her keepers.
After these hands-on experiences, we also got to go for a tour in the zebra car with one of the docents, Stephen. That was just as good as getting hands-on – having someone to guide you around the zoo and see a range of animals, and have all their personalities, behaviours and relationships pointed out to you by someone who has spent years with these animals is a very enjoyable experience.
We were also pretty lucky on this tour around to see a lot of the animals out feeding or enjoying the brief sunshine on the day. Finally seeing a numbat in the enclosure after the many trips I’ve had to the Zoo was great. Big cats like the tigers were out and active, although with the recent birth of some smaller cubs, the female and family were blocked off – understandably! Even the orangutans were out and about and enjoying the variable weather.
The end result of the day was that we got to spend a quality morning with some animals – which I’m sure most of us will agree is better than sitting down with our databases trying to bulk match common names to species names…
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Postedit: I forgot to mention as we were cruising in the zebra car, I saw a woman I thought I recognised. I realised quite a bit afterwards it was Jane Goodall – who starts her speaking tour of Australia today. If I’d recognised her at the time, I suspect I would have embarrassed myself. She’s one of the people that inspired me to get where I am today.