I’m in San Diego on client work. And any time I am in San Diego I always go to the San Diego Zoo.
I have spent a great deal of time at the San Diego Zoo over the years. It is one of my favorite places to be. And it is really wonderful at Christmas.
Not because the weather is good (it’s raining) but because they really celebrate Christmas well at the zoo; zoo lights; Christmas music; special musical and magical performances. It’s just nice.
But I come to the San Diego Zoo because it is the closest I can come to being in the presence of the magnificent animals they house there, without being in the wild.
Issues about animals in captivity aside, the San Diego zoo does a wonderful job of both housing animals and educating people about them. And their conservation program is, without question, far reaching.
But one of the things I like most about the San Diego Zoo is the people who work there; in particular the animal keepers.
Many years ago I was a media consultant to the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA). And one thing I learned during that time was the people who worked with animals at the zoo, were not only a heck of a lot of fun to party with (Party animals? Too obvious), but they were some of the most dedicated people I have ever met in any profession.
These people love animals. And they love to make sure they are well cared for.
And they are knowledgeable.
While at the San Diego zoo, I have spent a great many hours just ‘chatting’ with keepers. And in fact I do this whenever I go to any zoo or aquarium. No matter who I talk to, I always learn something new about an animal species.
There will be times when I have a specific question in mind (is the Sichuan Takin endangered?) and the response might be “well, I don’t work with hoof-stock, I work with cats.” And then the conversation will immediately go to cats (big cats) like the North Chinese Leopard or the Malayan Tiger. And I will learn something new.
(Just to note, the Sichuan Takins are not endangered, they are considered vulnerable. However the Mishmi Takin is endangered).
Keepers love to talk about the animal species they are charged with. I really like that.
Since its raining here in San Diego, and it is not very crowded at the zoo, it makes it much easier to take more of a keeper’s time talking (or takin? Sorry!) about endangered species.
Having said that, I am off to learn more about some of the endangered species here at the San Diego Zoo.