Animal Encounters | #2

Describe your favorite experience as an intern this summer.

Throughout my summer as an intern at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium I have had many experiences that I have throughly cherished. However combined, my favorite experiences have been the times I was able to interact with the animals. With interning at the zoo, interacting with the animals would be expected to be most people’s favorite experience, but for me this interaction was not only direct physical interaction but even just watching the animals in some of the back areas.

The only animals I was able to directly interact with were the Okapis. Once I was finished with my earlier duties and tasks, I was able to pet and feed the Okapi. It was nice reward after finishing my other tasks. The Okapi were truly some of the sweetest animals I had come in contact with while interning at the zoo. They loved to be rubbed and pet (especially behind their ears). I felt like I was able to create a bond with one specific Okapi, who truly loved trying to eat my hair!

When I was not assigned to work with the Okapis that particular day, I would be working with the Gorillas, Bonobos or Orangutans. While interns are not allowed to have physical contact with these primates, I still enjoyed being able to watch them. I felt like I was as curious about them as they were about me. By the end of my 3rd week as and intern I was able to identity most of the 17 Gorillas and 17 Bonobos, and enjoyed being able to see how much they differed physically and even had different personalities. I would spend sometimes up to an hour watch the groups interact with each other. I was glad I had the free time to be able to do this several times a week.

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