Utilization of zoo interns


Irlbeck NA. 1997. Utilization of zoo interns. In Proceedings of the Second Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Fort Worth, TX.


The field of nutrition in the zoo community is still in its infancy with many an unsolved riddle lying ahead. One tool that has been effective in aiding the collection of nutritional information has been a collaborative internship program between the Denver Zoological Gardens and Colorado State University .The internship program allows nutritionally-related projects to be completed at little cost, while simultaneously providing valuable information on dietary requirements and needs of the animal collection. Interns are selected based on animal experience, work ethic and responsibility. Students are required to maintain a 3.0 minimum grade point on a 4.0 scale. Actual selection of interns is made by the consulting nutritionist and selected zoo staff. Interns are required to complete the following: 1) literature search on selected topic and species; 2) data collection; 3) daily jouma1; 4) data analyses; 5) oral presentation of data to keepers and staff; and 6) a written final report. Some projects done in the past include: 1) development of a browse data base; 2) pelican behavior modification; 3) neonate pronghorn care; 4) psittacine intake study; and 5) primate intake studies. Students are jointly supervised by zoo staff and the nutritionist. We have a unique situation where we can help develop students at an advantage to the zoo and its animal collection. This program has resulted in presentations and proceedings at regional and national meetings. Programs like this are contributing to the laying of a foundation for this new field.

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