1,750 pounds of grapes and 800,000 adult crickets

August 22, 2008

This week I got to do another interview for Metro Talk on 3WT radio. Just like last month, I was able to pick the topic and the interviewee as well as write my own questions.

Asian elephant – Ambika

For this interview I chose to cover the Zoo’s commissary and talk with a senior animal nutritionist. In preparation, I worked with FONZ’s media relations manager to gather all of the factsheets and talking points about the commissary that had been compiled for previous interviews, press releases and media events. I quickly saw that there were hundreds of fun facts about animal nutrition and the jobs of the people who work in the commissary. It was really cool to be able to approach the interview as an outsider or a Zoo visitor. Because I was given complete control over the direction of the questions, I was basically able to ask about the things that I was interested in or curious about.

The nutritionist told me about creating diets specific to each individual animal. He detailed all the work that goes into preparing for Zoo events such as Celebrate Asian Elephants which takes place this weekend and includes a birthday celebration for Ambika, the oldest of the Zoo’s Asian elephants. He also talked about the fact that the Zoo grows all of its own hay and bamboo at several different sites in Washington and Virginia. I also learned about the huge quantities of food that are needed each year to feed the approximately 2,000 animals living at the Zoo. Can you even imagine 6,000 pounds of bananas and 20,000 pounds of fish?

The interview airs on Metro Talk on Sunday morning at 11-o-clock. Check it out on 107.7 FM.

Ring-tailed lemurs

In addition to the radio interview, several other small, on-going writing projects and some continued photo research we also had things to work on with the calendar – still!

We were able to copyedit the text and get all of the dates, events, etc. okayed by Monday at which point we sent all of the changes to the designer who input them and then sent everything to the printers. We received proofs from the printers on Thursday and we immediately met with the photographers to make sure the colors were correct and everything looked good. Unfortunately, there is going to be another round of proofs next week since a few of the photographs were over-saturated or had other color issues. But then, once those have been corrected, it will finally be ready to mail to members!

At this point I have visited every single animal at the Zoo – at least once. Some of the trips that I have not shared are ones to see the ring-tailed lemurs and the spectacled bear, Nikki.

The lemurs have one of the coolest exhibit yards at the Zoo. They live on Lemur Island which also contains a large waterfall and is home to at least 100 turtles. The lemurs hang out behind the waterfall in wooden huts interspersed with trees. I wouldn’t mind having a lemur hut to lounge around in in my backyard.

Spectacled bear – Nikki

The spectacled bear is located all the way at the bottom of the hill just before Amazonia. Because of this, I rarely ventured down there as a Zoo visitor before I became an intern. I already talked about all of the cool stuff that I missed out on in Amazonia, but I didn’t mentioned Nikki. He’s a pretty cool guy. When I stopped by he was enjoying a frozen treat on a very hot afternoon. The spectacled bears look to me like they accidentally bleached their fur around their faces. They are all black or dark brown except right around their eyes and nose where they are a much lighter shade of brown – even blonde in some cases. I wonder what the benefit of their coloring is, evolutionarily speaking?


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