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 7/26/19
And just like that, summer camp is over. Camp was full of so many exciting experiences and it flew by!
This year’s camp had a few brand new activities. For the first time, we used a guidebook throughout camp. Each camper got their very own book and could earn badges by completing the activities on each page. For example, to earn the Veterinary Care badge, campers acted as veterinarians and diagnosed different medical conditions. This included tiger dissection! Campers dissected a toy tiger and diagnosed ailments based on how the organs looked and felt! We also looked at real X-rays together to determine what injuries had occurred. One X-ray was of Elvis Serval’s now amputated leg. One night in 2016, Elvis severely broke his leg. His back left leg was so badly broken that it had to be amputated. After making all of our diagnoses with X-rays and dissection, we visited some of the animals who have chronic medical conditions, including Elvis. We were able to identify the modifications staff made to his enclosure to ensure his comfort and got to see him exploring it. He has not let his amputation slow him down!
One of my favorite parts of camp was our presentation from North Carolina State University students. These students work in Dr. Adam Hartstone-Rose’s lab and study functional morphology. Functional morphology means the study of the link between an animal’s anatomy and what they use their different body parts for. Dr. Hartstone-Rose focuses on the relationships between animals’ diets and their jaws, teeth, and related muscles, so he studies and measures skulls. His students showed us many different animal skulls. We were able to see the differences in their teeth depending on what they normally eat. For example, carnivores generally have sharper teeth that can cut through meat while herbivores generally have flatter teeth that will grind food. In this photo, from top to bottom, we have a tiger skull, deer skull, and hornbill skull. Can you guess what type of food these animals eat based on their teeth? Test yourself!
I’m glad so many campers were able to spend time with us this summer! They learned so much about what it takes to keep the animals here healthy and happy, everything from habitat design and how big to make an enclosure to enrichment and what Magoo Ocelot’s favorite scent is. I’m already looking forward to next year’s summer camp adventures!