ZP Week Four: Hand Feeding , Holding and Houdini

I’ve had a really amazing week here and feel like I’ve progressed a lot. In myself I can feel I’m more confident with the work and comfortable around the seals. I’ve also been trusted with a larger range of tasks and responsibilities (hmm, could it be connected I wonder…).

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So This Is Christmas…

… and what have you done?

What were you doing at 2pm on Christmas Day? If I were home, it would be about the end of a customary long dog walk. I would shower, maybe peel some potatoes if pressured, watch Christmas telly and generally wait for parental permission to drink wine and open presents (the relative importance of the wine and the presents has shifted over the years).

Today, I was at a seal necropsy, because nothing says festive like internal organs. But let’s start at the beginning.

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ZP Week Three: A Perfect Day

The days have all started to blur into one a little, even though they’re very different in the details. This week I had three ‘O’ (early) shifts and two ‘L’ (guess…) shifts.

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ZP Week Two: Highs and Lows

Now I’ve gotten through my first full working week here, I’m beginning to find my rhythm a little. I always think of the first week somewhere new as something of write-off as you’re always playing catch-up, learning where everything is and how everything works. The second week always seems to give me more time to settle, start building a routine of sorts, and work out my thoughts on things.

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ZP Week One: Quarantine Training and My First Day

Days Three and Four: Quarantine Training

Two days are dedicated to training in the quarantines, and thank god. These are self contained little rooms with a small pool, a kitchen, and a plateau, all of which can be gated off. This is Fase 1, where new arrivals and the sickest seals are.

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ZP Week One: Arrival and the Start of Training

I flew to the Netherlands on Sunday the 3rd of December, and then embarked on a public transport adventure to Pieterburen – two trains and a bus. The bus was more like a minibus, and as I sat there with my big rucksack and my non-existent Dutch, the driver said to me “Would you like me to stop at the seal hospital?”.

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My Next Adventure: Zeehondencentrum Pieterburen

Next week I am off to the Netherlands to spend 14 weeks as a seal care volunteer at Zeehondencentrum Pieterburen, a large and renowned seal rescue and rehabilitation centre.

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Zoologish Profile: Sophie

Sophie is an MSci Zoology graduate who is soon off to work as a project manager in South Africa on the Dwarf Mongoose Project (where she was my wonderful roommate when we were research assistants!) – I’ll leave the rest for her to explain in her own words.

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Where To Find Wildlife Jobs and Internships

I’m a compulsive job hunter, finding it weird that I’ve actually sorted out the next small portion of my life. For the time being, the job hunting has to stop, because I’m not available any more! How bizarre. But for anyone still seeking, these are the resources I bookmark and follow and check with alarming regularity.

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Skype Interviews and Silence

Let’s talk about a real epidemic in zoology jobs.

Back when I was still in uni I managed to get an interview for a research assistant position with orang-utans in Borneo for a year, on the Gunung Palung Orang-utan Project.

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