Grace Wills, pre-veterinary biology major at Henderson State University, spent her summer at The Alaska Zoo in Anchorage. She was one of four students selected from a nationwide pool of 60 applicants to participate in a 12-week long animal husbandry internship at this internationally recognized zoo.
Over the course of the 12-week program, wills participated in four main zoo-keeping shifts, rotating shifts every 3 weeks. Her daily routine included morning and afternoon feeding and enrichment (as well as meds, if needed), cleaning of exhibits and dens, and food preparation for the next day.
Often, there was time for another task each day such as performing a critter chat or participating in a wolf walk. Interns were also exposed to the public through activities such as running the petting zoo for two hours once or twice a week and giving guided zoo tours once a week.
Wills also had the opportunity to stand in on several veterinary procedures conducted at the zoo, including removal of a growth on one of the polar bears, sedation of orphaned bear cubs for health checks, and a vasectomy on a male caribou.