Back from the conference…

I got back from the AAZK conference earlier this month and it went well.  I heard some great paper presentations and  saw a lot of terrific things at the different facilities that we visited.  Now I have to find the time to put my information together so that I can present it all to my co-workers…

I said I would post some pictures from my trip to the AAZK conference in San Diego, and although I’m a little behind on it here they are.  I took over 900 pictures so it’s difficult to choose just a few for this post.

I was fortunate to be able to go on a post-conference trip to the California Wolf Center in Julian, CA . This is a Mexican grey wolf, the only wolf species that has fewer numbers than the red wolf. Wolves are my passion, so this was a treat.

Mexican grey wolf at the California Wolf Center in Julian, CA.

There were lots of behind-the-scenes tours , as well as training sessions like the one below with the zebra, that the San Diego Zoo scheduled for the conference delegates on the day we visited.  Apparently zebras can be hard to train because they are so nervous and skiddish, so I was quite impressed with the behaviors that this zebra could do.  The success of the training had a lot to do with the fact that the trainer bonded with the zebra at a young age, as well as the fact that the trainer had an extremely calm demeanor which transferred to the zebra being very calm as well.

Hoof maintenance is very important, so training an animal to willingly show his hooves for routine maintenance is typically one of the first things the trainer will try to teach.


Along with being taught behaviors that would help with vet care, the zebra also knew how to roll his toys across the yard, and even flip them end-over-end with his nose!

During lunch at Zoo Day, the keepers brought out some cool animals for the delegates to see.  I got to see a fossa up close, which is the main predator of lemurs in the wild. And I also got to see a pangolin, which is a very interesting looking mammal from the rain forests of Central Africa. To learn more about fossas and pangolins just click here and here.

This is a Pangolin, possibly the coolest animal I saw the entire time I was there!


This is the fossa. This guy was very high energy and hard to keep still for the keeper!

I also got a chance to visit Sea World in San Diego.  What a great facility!

A sea turtle at Sea World. Their exhibit was set up well, where the animals could swim over top of you and you could view them from underneath through glass. This turtle was huge, and beautiful!

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