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|December 13, 2010 - Sarah Dunn|
Day two and three are combined since yesterday was bit of a hard and long day. It began at 8am. Nola was working so I was glad to see a face more familiar to me. Each morning we go over a board which has a plan for the day as far as which pen area each person will be working in. Each area has a person listed as a supervisor and volunteers. Obviously the supervisor being someone that knows a bit more of what is going on. Well, due to a small number of bodies to do the work, my name was listed under supervisor for pen 2.
This is the pen I worked for the first time the day before, currently housing 107 larger juvenile chicks. Nola said to me…”I hope you caught on to what is happening in the routine because I have you on supervisor today.”…yikes...Ok I can do this! After all, this group is getting pretty healthy so it should be fairly routine…I can remember this.
Well, I'd like to say I did fabulous…however, the timing of things is key and that is the one thing I did not pay attention to the day before. I had an idea of the order of which things needed to be done, but not for how long, or I should say how quickly, I should have gotten them done. I received welcomed assistance from Nola with the feedings. We ran into some challenges, however, concerning some callouses on some of the birds' feet. It is not uncommon for birds to get these callouses, however its ideal to have healthy feet, especially in order to increase the chances of survival for all of these chicks. Extra time was spent checking all 107 birds’ feet and applying a special liquid to assist with the healing process. I received help from Ralph, a veterinarian from Brazil here to help Nola. We finally made our way home around 8pm.
Today was bit easier. I assisted Millie in the ICU area. This area contains chicks that still need a bit more intensive care, such as orally tubing fluids and fish gruel. Most of the birds in this area are chicks, however there a couple of adult birds. One adult and one juvenile were oiled birds. This is a common problem off the coast of South Africa. There are also a couple of other species of birds – a Commerant and a Cape Gannet. A few more birds were admitted today. I assisted Nola with this as well. I experienced some firsts...several South African fleas as well as how to hold a Cape Gannet, which is a flighted bird larger than a penguin, while Nola examined it. It was a very busy day and a lot of hard work. My feet and back hurt but I am glad to be here. I have a new perspective on how easy we have it at the aquarium taking care of our 28 African penguins!
Skittish African Penguins cross a road on Robben Island in South Africa.
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