Presentation on theme: "Becky Kunkel. Summary What Marine Mammal Internship When September 14 th – February 13 th Where Shedd Aquarium, Chicago IL Why One of the top animal internships."— Presentation transcript:
Summary What Marine Mammal Internship When September 14 th – February 13 th Where Shedd Aquarium, Chicago IL Why One of the top animal internships in the nation To work with Ken Ramirez To learn training the “Shedd way”
Schedule 2 Days of Orientation Minimum of 35 hours a week With commute, over 40 hours a week All interns worked different days, but schedule stayed the same 1 am shift (6:30am - 1:30pm) 1 pm shift (12:30pm – 7:30pm 1 12 hour shift (6:30am – 7:30pm with a half hour lunch) 1 overnight shift (6:30pm – 12:30am, or 12:00am – 7:00am) Shifts broken down into half hour chunks
Duties (what’s on paper) 55% cleaning Animal habitats Community areas 25% diet preparation Primarily during the morning shift 5% data collection Pregnancy observations on belugas, then calf observations 5% public interaction Answering questions when in public areas 5% project Data collection and observation on an animal of our choice
Duties (what I actually did) 55% cleaning Scrubbing algae from habitats Scrubbing sea lion reserve Cleaning the MM kitchen (AM and PM) Locker rooms/bathrooms Common areas Office 25% diet preparation 4 hours of sorting fish, weighing and bucketing for all 7 whales, 3 dolphins, 3 sea lions, and 5 otters (and the sharks and Wild Reef) 5% data collection Night shift (7 hours of minute by minute data collection on pregnant whales) 5% public interaction Show set up and breakdown, and assisting in training sessions 5% project You can choose an animal from a list that they provide
Training Whistles for experienced staff, point bridge for newer staff Fish as primary R+, variety of secondaries Interns had to be “cleared” on behaviors Guest behaviors Vocalization Spin Spyhop High hand target Spit Husbandry behaviors Tongue/gum rub Rubs Blood “draws” Ultrasounds Advanced Point bridge Basic feed A to B’s Target stick
Staff Training Each trainer “trained” on individual basis Long list of skills needed to master for EACH animal Time to “build relationships” (rappoire) Skill is mastered when trainer demonstrates: Verbal behavior (oral and written) Skill itself Takes years to earn training freedom Senior trainers have been there 10+ years
Difficulties Exhaustion No breaks except on 12 hour day Day is 90% manual labor Short tempers Mistakes were sometimes corrected harshly Very high levels of professionalism Communication between staff and interns needed work Weekly staff meeting notes were not passed onto interns No time to discuss training techniques Staff not receptive to discussions about ORCA’s research
What I loved Everything in its place Incredibly organized No slackers Everyone works hard, and helps out Passionate people Everyone loves what they do Two births 33 91 Good times We cut loose…. A lot!
Ken Ramirez Fun Facts History of acting Theater Voiceovers Christmas Party White House guest Open Door Policy Available majority of time Staff meetings Family man
Project Kayavak 10 year old adult beluga whale Hand raised from 6 months of age Outgoing, solicits attention Project Peer aggression Mating behaviors However… No control over variables
What I Learned Exciting (but stressful) times for Shedd Transitional period Dog show ended, dogs finding new homes New show + 2 pregnant whales = stressed staff Animal contact minimal Our group had even less training time than interns before us Incredibly physically demanding No breaks Long hours (expected to show up early/stay late if needed) Always moving Interns work harder than staff (even Ken said it)
However Overall, a positive experience I recommend this internship for those that are strong willed and strong bodied! Very much worth it, once in a lifetime experience!