Wildtracks: Conservation, Research and Education

Wildtracks blog

A corporate refugee joins the Wildtracks Team....Anna I.


A couple of months ago I quit my job, packed up my cubicle, and said goodbye to corporate America. I had been working in the cube farm for a year, and decided that it was time for me to pursue my passion of working with animals, and to put my biological anthropology degree to good use.

I arrived at Wildtracks not knowing what to expect, and I came across something truly amazing. Paul, Zoe, and a group of volunteers who were wholeheartedly dedicated to the care, nurturing, and well being of monkeys and manatees. I met people from all over the world who were passionate about wildlife conservation, and wanted to help provide former pets and stranded animals with the highest quality care so that they may one day thrive in the wild.

Having never worked with monkeys or manatees in the past, everything seemed quite foreign to me. On my first day here I swam with a manatee for the first time in my life. Within three days of being here I was sitting in a manatee pool at 3AM while on night watch with Lucky.

Soon after arriving, I was introduced to the two spider monkeys I have been working with over the last couple of months. Chippa and Izzie immediately stole my heart. Chippa has never failed to put a smile on my face with her clumsy movements and, for lack of a better word,"unique" personality. I have also grown to admire Izzie's reserved nature and her soft and kind demeanor.

It has been a privilege to witness Chippa and Izzie grow up and make strides toward becoming more independent monkeys. When I first arrived, both monkeys were living in the Nursery Unit. As of three days ago, both monkeys are now sleeping outside overnight on their own. They still require an extensive amount of human contact and care, which I and their other carers love providing for them. Spending time playing, napping, and bonding with Chippa and Izzie has become routine, although each day brings its own happy surprises. Over the next few weeks, as they become more settled in their new enclosure, we will start stepping back, slowly removing their support structure and encouraging them to depend more on each other.

My time at Wildtracks is more than half way over, and I have witnessed many changes occur here. I have seen the dream of the spider monkey complex become a reality. I have seen true heartbreak when Duke, the oldest manatee, passed away. But, most importantly, I have seen and experienced the incredible work that is done here at Wildtracks, and for that I am truly grateful. I look forward to what my next couple of months here brings, and I would like to thank everyone who has helped me learn along the way.

(Note: Chippa and Izzie were napping on me the whole time that I was writing this blog)


Published by: Zoe Walker at 2014-10-05 10:11:39   [Link to this article]

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