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Then the new mulch has to be loaded in, shovelful by shovelful, barrel by barrel. It's an incredible amount of work, and this time the crew was so fast that they were able to get the animals back on exhibit ahead of schedule. I helped for about an hour but I did a tiny fraction of the work. Zookeepers at work are something to behold.


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Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
ritaxis
Dec. 4th, 2014 12:11 am (UTC)
Did I ever tell you my daughter's a zookeeper now? She works at the Happy Hollow Zoo, which is a lovely little AZA-accredited zoo in Kelley Park, San Jose.

She works really hard and loves every moment of it. Plus, she's getting very strong!

edit: typotypo

Edited at 2014-12-04 12:13 am (UTC)
urbpan
Dec. 4th, 2014 11:17 pm (UTC)
Hey that's great! I haven't been to Happy Hollow, but maybe some day. :)
ungulata
Dec. 4th, 2014 04:57 pm (UTC)
Is it stair access? Wheelbarrows have larger wheels, are easier to roll and dump, won't be as much a risk for back-strain. That's a really small shovel for the job of loading mulch.
urbpan
Dec. 4th, 2014 11:14 pm (UTC)
Agreed. We always seem to be operating in what I like to call "less than optimal" situations, with less than optimal tools.

Edt: and no, stairs aren't really the issue--there's a few steps down into the exhibit but a wheelbarrow could do it easily. Actually now that I think of it, we did have one wheelbarrow in use, but it may have been too wide to go through the exhibit doorway.

Edited at 2014-12-04 11:16 pm (UTC)
ungulata
Dec. 5th, 2014 03:52 am (UTC)
Exhibits should always be built with access in mind, at least wheelbarrow access. And good drainage, quiet ventilation, natural light...
urbpan
Dec. 5th, 2014 10:36 am (UTC)
You said it. If only zookeepers were consulted before the exhibits were completed....
ungulata
Dec. 5th, 2014 01:36 pm (UTC)
I recent years we get consulted a lot here. It's much better, but still windows are small, sand is used instead of crushed rock and not all floors drain properly.
urbpan
Dec. 5th, 2014 02:10 pm (UTC)
Sand is a pretty awful substrate for a lot of reasons. For drainage I've come along to the idea of a trench along one side of the enclosure--I've rarely seen a center floor drain that happened to be in the lowest part of the room.
ungulata
Dec. 5th, 2014 07:43 pm (UTC)
Many of our more recent indoor installations have incorporated a drainage gutter along the service corridor. Many drains are of the trap type with the sewer pipe some inches above the ground, probably with the intention that stuff won't block the pipe. 9_9 Stuff blocks the pipe a lot, especially if people don't sweep up everything before hosing down the floor. That pipe is not easy to unblock, especially when it's under a foot of smelly water. And since the water never drains all out, there is always fecal material and uneaten food in that trap. It really does stink. I found a solution: flush it like a toilet. With the hose running to keep the water level up and the mulm swirling, I dump a 15 gallon bucket of water in it all at once. You get a nice satisfying chugging gurgle as the water rushes down the sewer pipe and sucks out the mulm. Repeat four times and it's pretty clean. Saves water too, the other option is to leave the hose running for an hour. Dish soup and scrubbing takes care of the grease.

In the rhino barn the traps are... huge. So I use the waterers to help flush -- they hold about 50 gallons.

Management is of the opinion that sand looks more natural. There is a place for sand in an exhibit, but not as a pavement in muddy high traffic areas next to a drain.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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