So my Whipsnade week one roundup…. it’s been a really amazing first week here and I’ve been learning such a lot towards what I hope will one day be a future career for myself.

As well as successfully blood sampling a nilgai antelope and a rather reluctant llama, I’ve bathed goats, tried my hand at health checking animals I’d have never thought I’d get that close to and monitored a number of anaesthetics. Not bad to say I came to Whipsnade expecting ( due to the nature of the animals) for it to be a stand back and observe kind of placement.

Being at the zoo has not only given me up close and personal access to some of the world’s most fantastic creatures, it has given me a chance to pick the brains of the people who look after them. I can honestly say you will not get a more knowledgable or passionate bunch of people and I’ve learnt so much about the animals in their care just from the short periods I’ve spent with them.

I’ve also got to see first hand how beneficial enrichment is; just how much the animals get from being mentally and physically stimulated. This can be in the form of imaginative ways to promote natural behaviours in those animals like thinking of imaginative ways of delivering food, but also through training to accept veterinary intervention.

I’ve found it quite bizarrely funny how I get a little bubble of excitement and nervousness every time my clinical skills get put to the test here. I mean at the end of the day a tiger is a big cat, a buffalo is an even meatier cow and a zebra is an even more flighty horse after all!

However, nothing quite got my heart beating like being faced with a wall of furious lions while trying to assess the progress of a wound earlier this week. It’s safe to say the lions like many domestic cats are NOT fans of the vets! While in a room which echoed with their deafening battle cries and swarming bodies of fangs and claws which seemed to shake the whole building when they launched themselves at the bars. This really did take the terror that runs through you when you have to deal with a ferocious cat in practice and put it into perspective!

So now I’m going to enjoy the rest of the day ogling at the photos I’ve taken throughout the week! What did I do with most of my weekend I hear you say? Well…. because I just can’t seem to get enough of the zoo, I dragged my family down to visit so I could enjoy myself being a tourist, because what better way to spend a weekend off than at the zoo!

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