This week our formal presentations for the projects we’ve all been working on began. Since the beginning of this internship, each intern has been documenting the behavior of a specific animal at the Zoo and developed a hypothesis. Now, it’s time to present our findings to each other with last-minute posters on tri-folds from the local A.C. Moore. Plenty of interns chose to do their projects on the more popular animals, like the gorillas or the big cats. It was really fun to follow the parade of interns and hear all about what they’ve been studying, as well as learn more about the animals at the Zoo. The limited time we have to learn everything doesn’t really allow for a whole lot of in-depth knowledge about the animals; it’s usually enough to know the names and common facts about a select few animals from each area of the Zoo. Because of this, it made the presentations really interesting! Animal choices ranged from the aye-ayes in the primate house all the way to maned wolves down at the south end of the Zoo.
For my project, I chose the red kangaroos and looked at interactions within the group, as well as any displays of female dominance among the older and younger females of the mob (fun fact: a group of kangaroos is called a mob). I didn’t find a whole lot; kangaroos are a lot lazier than I originally thought, and the best group interaction I found was a grooming behavior that occurred one time between our alpha male and one of his mates. There was also one instance of dominance where one of the older females shooed away the others to get to the food bowl, but once action is not enough to be significant. Although my results weren’t anything to get too excited about, the whole project helped me learn about how to conduct studies on animal behavior and how to transfer those recordings into concrete data. I’ll also be writing a paper on my findings for the grand finale of my internship, which is next week! My next post will be after the conclusion of my last day, so keep an eye out!