I'm sure many of you have dreamt of swimming with dolphins or even just touching them. Well, imagine working with them EVERY DAY!! The lady I'm interviewing today, Gabby Harris, gets to do this. Check it out:
What is your job?
I am the Curator of mammals and birds at uShaka Sea World.
What did you study/do to get this kind of work?
I learned a lot of the ins and outs of the job on the job. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree that includes psychology and Speech and Drama – these two subjects stood me in good stead when I applied for my job here.
What do you do in a normal day?
Manage staff that work in this department. Train and present dolphins. Lots of cleaning and paper work. Husbandry (caring for the animals) around the animals.
What is the most interesting thing you've come across/experienced in your job?
The first time I saw a dolphin’s belly button I was amazed that these animals are individuals. Seeing a dolphin being born is an incredible experience – with one of the animals my children watched a dolphin birth with me which was wonderful. Releasing an elephant seal after we rehabilitated her was incredible. Holding a penguin chick in your hands. So many wonderful times.
What is a not-so-nice thing about your job?
We love these animals like our family members. If they become compromised (if they get sick or hurt), we worry about them like we do our children. There is also lots of cleaning!
What do you love about your job?
Being friends with the animals – this is an incredible privilege, and it is amazing to bond with them. Love swimming with the dolphins. Love sharing conservation messages with people. Seeing someone’s attitude to the ocean change because they have met an animal is really heartening.
What would you say/recommend to kids who want to do what you do?
Be physically fit. If you want to make a career of this, you need to have good swimming skills and be energetic and strong. It is a good idea to study after school. Perhaps study close to a facility like uShaka Sea world and volunteer on your weekends so you get the lay of the land and a foot in the door. It is not a glamour job, so you need to be prepared to slog hard and get your hands dirty. Learn about the ocean. Become familiar with organisations in this industry, such as the Animal Behaviour Management Alliance (ABMA), the Animal Keepers Association of Africa (AKAA) and the International Association for Marine Animal Trainers (IMATA). Go see them on line.
Love the ocean…
Thanks to Gabby for the insider peak into a trainer's life, I'm sure she'se inspired lots of us to work harder.
Interesting news has broken in the aquarium world, read the summary below to find out more:
MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM PUTS ITS 6TH YOUNG GREAT WHITE SHARK ON EXHIBIT
A Great White Shark. Photo: Hermanus Backpackers
For the sixth time, the Monterey Bay Aquarium (www.montereybayaquarium.org) has a young great white shark on exhibit. He was brought to Monterey from Malibu on Wednesday night (August 31), just 13 days after he was collected by aquarium staff in waters off southern California near Marina del Rey.
The young shark, a 122cm male weighing 19.6 kg, was collected by aquarium staff and was quickly transferred to a more than 15-million-litre ocean holding pen off Malibu, where he remained for almost two weeks. Aquarium staff observed him swimming comfortably and documented him feeding in the pen before he was taken to Monterey and placed in the 3-million-litre Open Sea exhibit.
In 2004, the first female white shark was exhibited in Monterey as part of the aquarium’s Open Sea exhibit for 6 ½ months and was seen by more than a million people. In follow-up surveys, visitors reported coming away with a deeper understanding of the need to protect white sharks and their ocean homes as a result of seeing the shark on exhibit. In the wild, great white shark numbers are decreasing worldwide, partly because they’re slow to reproduce and because of growing fishing pressure. White sharks are protected in California and other U.S. coastal waters, as well as in South Africa, Australia, Mexico and other nations. Their fearsome reputation has made them a target of trophy hunters and the curio trade. This means that educating the public and research is vitally important!
Since 2002, the aquarium has allocated more than $1 million toward its studies of adult and juvenile great white sharks – research unrelated to the effort to put a white shark on exhibit. Visit www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/whiteshark.aspx for detailed information about the aquarium’s Project White Shark program.
So Sea Fans, let me know what you think about this.
I am an aquarist who works with the animals in an aquarium. I feed them, train them and make sure that they get everything that they need. My first two children's books of aquarium adventures are being sold in book stores now.