I have recently returned from the 2012 AAZK conference held in Syracuse, N.Y.
It was held at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo and I was really impressed with the conference. My day started at about 7am and lasted till about 5pm. All day I was in classes, lectures and one of the days we got to go to the zoo. The conference offered several workshops or classes that I signed up for and paper presentations between.
Some of these included Raptor Equipment Making class where I got to make supplies that we use for our own raptors and Emergency Preparedness. The geeky side of me loved the paper presentations where keepers would present a subject and give us their findings. Some of the titles were: Fecal Firming in a Female Chimpanzee,Managing a Giraffe with Skin Allergies,Preparing Your Sea Lion for Surgery. I know what you’re thinking,we don’t have chimps, sea lions or giraffes, but the techniques and problems that they had could be applied to all different animals.
I met with keepers from all over the world and got to brag, share ideas and gripe with people who have the same occupation I have.It was comforting to know that everyone had the same experiences I had at work.
On the day we toured the zoo I got to pet an elephant, watch an Andean Condor being trained, see some new snow leopard cubs, learn about reindeer diseases and some behind the scenes tours.
All in all it was an awesome experience and I was so glad I got to go.