Some of you may know this already, but for a brief time I worked at Zoo Atlanta. I wasn't working in my dream position, I was only a part time Education Assistant, which was honestly more like a customer service representative. While the work is needed, it wasn't my cup of tea. However, I did love going to work. There was something really special about walking around in the mornings while the animals were just getting up or hearing the lions roar as I walked from the parking lot to the education department.
While there, I had the chance to shadow an educational tour for a school group and it was just so fun to watch those little kids light up with questions upon seeing a new species around the zoo. I felt the same way when I would see new species, like the fossa, which resembles a cat but is a completely different type of mammal.
My most memorable experiences were the wild encounters, where I went behind the scenes to interact with the resident animals. While there were a variety of these encounters, I was only able to do three: African Elephant, Aldabra Tortoise and the Giant Panda.
I could not stop smiling the entire time I was doing the encounters. The zookeepers gave me and the other guests a lot of information about each species, as well as what goes into their daily care. I was able to feed the panda, and touch both the elephant and tortoise. I firmly believe that experiences like this can influence people to care more about wildlife.
While my time at Zoo Atlanta was short, I do not regret one moment of it and I am forever grateful to have been so close to animals everyday.