So after a year and a half I graduated with my Zoology certificate from the Animal Behavior Institute. Going back to school was scary but I was so interested in the subject matter that the time flew by. Now, with some education and some 'in field' work I've earned a volunteer position at San Diego Zoo Global. I met with the conservation department as soon as I graduated and let them know I was interested in their outreach programs that are helping save endangered animals. Within 2 weeks there was an opening on the 'Leopard Project' and it was right up my alley.
One day a week I drive to the 'Sustainability' offices at the Zoo. I get to walk by some Andean bears and silly monkeys before work. It's quite a nice environment at far as work goes. Then my job is to cull through video footage from motion censored 'camera traps' that are set up in over 40 locations in Kenya, to try and 'spot' a leopard. This helps the scientists at SDZG determine where the leopards are, where they're migrating to and if they're having babies. Did you know you can tell a leopard apart from the pack by it's spots? Their spots are like our fingerprints.
There are many big and little creatures that show up in these videos; baboons, bushbabys, antelope, elephants and hippos BUT it's always exciting when I spot a leopard. This pretty baby seemed to stop and take a look right at me before walking away. To spend my spare time seeing these beautiful creatures in the wild and helping, even in a small way, save them from extinction is such an honor.
if you want to learn more about San Diego Zoo Global and their conservation efforts, please read more, volunteer, donate, go visit the zoo. It all helps this kind of research continue.
*Image snap of video, property of SDZG.