Dr. Chloe Wilde is our wildlife biologist. She studied ecology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Her favorite topic of study is conservation. Dr. Wilde is passionate about learning about and teaching others about how they can help wild cat populations, including reducing their use of products with palm oil in them. Though Carolina Tiger Rescue does not have any, Dr. Wilde’s favorite animal to study is the clouded leopard.
Dr. Wilde’s Blog 4/7/19
My, what a busy weekend it has been! On Friday, we had a booth at Scifest and on Sunday, we took our education vehicle to Touch A Truck!
SciFest was a new event for us! We were in the “Imagine” section where kids could try to imagine themselves doing different jobs and see how they liked it. I represented Carolina Tiger Rescue and talked about my job as an animal keeper! We would not take an animal with us to an event, so we had to give them a preview of my job as a keeper by showing them pictures and tools, as you can see in the picture to the right. We took a treat stick and a target with us. A treat stick is used by the other keepers and I to feed the animals, you guessed it, treats! We can also give medicine using a treat stick by putting the medicine in meat and then putting that on the end of the stick. On one end, it is sharp enough to poke into meat so we can stick the meat on the end of the stick and push it through the fence. It is also three feet long so that we can stay a safe distance from the enclosure. It is wooden so, if an animal pulls it away from us, they can safely play with it and chew on it.
When I said we took a target, you might have pictured a target with circles and a bullseye, but it’s actually a ball on a stick! It is used in operant conditioning to refocus the animal on their training. If the animal gets distracted, we will signal for them to touch the ball with their nose and it gets their attention back on us. I’ll discuss operant conditioning on the blog later, so keep an eye out for that! Students at SciFest were also given the opportunity to touch our pelts and see firsthand the differences in wildcat furs. I hope at least one student pictured themselves doing a job like mine and liked what they saw!
On Sunday, we attended Touch A Truck, an event sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 39 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina! Great job, boys! Our education vehicle was recently decorated with pictures of some of our animals, so this was a great opportunity to show that off while also educating kids about what we do and why it’s so important. We took our trivia wheel to quiz people about our animals. They were so smart and definitely lightened our load by winning lots of prizes! As you can see in this photo of me enjoying the event, we took a small animal crate as well to show how we might transport our smaller animals for medical care. There were some other really cool vehicles there, like an ambulance, a fire truck, an 18-wheeler, and even military and construction vehicles!
I had loads of fun this weekend with our volunteers and the public. I hope that all the students and attendees learned something about our mission here at the Rescue and that at least one kid was inspired to be a keeper like me!