Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Volunteer Postcard

With very mixed feelings our team recently said “bon voyage” to one of our Volunteer Animal Caretakers, Bridget. After ten months on the team, she left Seattle for a yearlong globetrotting adventure. Her journey started in the Middle East and Africa and ends in South East Asia. We couldn’t allow ourselves to be too sad because we were all so excited and supportive of her trip, and understandably thrilled to live through her vicariously.

So far she has been to Dubai, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Kenya. We have seen her pictures of lions, elephants, hippos, giraffes, and zebras etc., but we are probably most excited about her wild encounters with animals from our collection!

A big part of the reason that Bridget started volunteering with us was because of her love for naked mole rats. A significant part of her morning tasks was dedicated to cleaning, preparing food, and interpreting our naked mole-rat colony for guests. There are about 20 species of mole rat native to Africa, our beloved naked mole rats being one of them. While touring Great Zimbabwe, Bridget was lucky enough to encounter evidence of a colony:

As Bridget put it in a message sent to one of our Animal Caretakers: “At Great Zimbabwe, guide told me that these were Mole Rat Tunnels! I squealed with delight and he looked at me like I was insane.”

Bridget has also seen one of our most beloved arthropods that we have in the Insect Village: The Giant African Millipede. Coming across this giant diplopod in the wild would probably startle a lot of people, but Bridget was just excited and eager to share what she knew about them.

Along with her picture came this message “Look what I spotted in the wild! I got very excited and told everyone about my experience with Giant African Millipedes.” 
A few weeks later, Bridget found another Giant African Millipede in Kenya, “This one was real big! Crawling around on our porch, so cool!”

Thanks, Bridget, for sharing your pictures from the first half of your trip! We are excited to see if you encounter any more animals from our collection when you head to South East Asia. Hopefully when you are back you can volunteer with us again!

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