I had the good fortune to volunteer in the animal care department at the LA Zoo when I wasn’t focused on my late career as a professional student.
As a former zoo animal keeper the opportunity provided me with a chance to brush up on my husbandry skills while working along side zoo professionals at the Griffith Park facility. It’s a terrific zoo and big one.
Grateful for the chance to work with one of North America’s most heterogenous and impressive captive wildlife collections, I encountered some fairly rare hoof stock species that I had only seen in photographs or at one or two other zoological parks. These animal ambassadors included Chinese water deer, okapi, anoa, Japanese serow, takin, Calamian deer, markhor, Chinese goral and several other ungulate species that call the LA Zoo home.
I also have to put in a plug for the Zoo’s world-class bird show. The cast included more than just your everyday raptor or psittacine. As I recall the Zoo exhibited three species of hornbill and a pair of Abyssinian ground hornbills were featured in the program. The bird show was captivating, well-choreographed, and highly educational and entertaining.
It would seem to me that only near Hollywood would it be appropriate to assemble such an eclectic assortment of wildlife ambassadors and program animals.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the Zoo recruited just as unusual a pair to participate in a promotional commercial for its new L.A.I.R. exhibit for ectotherms. To promote the exhibit Gun’s N Roses guitarist Slash and 90-year-old comedic sensation Betty White joined up to film the promotion.
The Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles facility will open later this year and will provide new homes for the Zoo’s current reptile collection–one of the rarest in North America–and an assortment of other cold-blooded creatures. In total, the exhibit will display approximately 60 species of animals.