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WWL>Topics>>1-24-14 1:10pm Angela: on the Audubon Zoo

1-24-14 1:10pm Angela: on the Audubon Zoo

Jan 24, 2014|

Angela talks with zookeepers Jamie Orth and Erin Eagan and Insectarium manager Zack Lemaan about what's new at the Audubon Zoo.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Hello Friday it is our favorite day so it's a little cold out or not and worry about it. And hopefully you're not on the -- hopefully your in your home listen to the radio in its gonna sit back and enjoy if you're in your car -- you're driving very carefully. But hopefully also listen. Friday is our fund today and I just love the three hours ahead. And the second hour it's what's happening this weekend Satan can chart -- course. And then the third hour the legendary. Leah chase I'm so thrilled to have this woman and in studio. But we're gonna began with our weekly meeting of new friends. In our open Mike segment and that's we call this making new friends. And let me tell you these are three great months. Three members of the Audubon nature institute. Erin Egan a zoo keeper in the famed Louisiana -- exhibit that alligators and Jamie or the senior elephant carnivore keeper and talk about. And last but not least exactly. Who has been with the Ottoman institute for over twenty years in is now manager of animals and visitor programs. At the glorious in sectarian. And butterfly garden. I really mean this I'm I'm thrilled -- -- here he uplift me walking into the door. Because we're talking about elephants and alligators and bugs and the people who love -- So we're gonna start -- actually with Jamie on sort of do you have the call of the wild and I -- and how you've got to do what you did but I also have to comment. The visual. Of its pond yeah. Yes. Her fiftieth birthday that big beautiful elephant. With that giant had gone -- eating her own Kate was priceless. Did she know that it was her day. I think she definitely had an idea. Because. We just for the preparations that we retain that morning and once he brought the hats into the bar and I think she knew something was up so that was a giant. -- it was when my co workers meaning you'll was precious and everybody celebrated with there. OK tell me how you've got into what you're doing. It was it was by accident really IA. I was a biology student at Tulane and IA. Was planning on being your researcher I went into the study ecology. Annan's. So it's quite sure what exactly yet but I a ended up spending one summer in North Carolina. As a field research assistants and decided that highlights being outdoors too much to -- researcher and spend so much time in a lab. So I a started volunteering. With actually in the section and a working in an Asian I mean at the zoo. After I graduated and was offered an internship and I tickets and then was offered a job and I tickets actions by accident -- and went with elephants and -- and carnivores and I haven't looked back since. But what a joy to go to work everyday and just. Talk to deal with it it is that you do talk to them I absolutely everyday and you think they understand. I think they do. They're very intelligence. Pint yet. Since they're talking about her earlier I I think she's smarter than I am they're very observance they're very quick to catch on to things and they -- a lot of behaviors that they they're in today's -- about fifty different behaviors. We train them every day but there are many things. That being known unofficially and we just Eilat and it's it's kind of scary how quickly they pick up on things and house might there scaring impressive. That's you know that's a great tribute to what you just sent okay Aaron. You're with a swamp creatures yes I am what a -- it's a wonderful. And so how did you get him. Actually began with our -- -- institute at the aquarium when -- sixteen years old I volunteer with them Alter our high school. And and the. Summer of 05 when Katrina -- -- -- -- that to get it to rain that fall however since -- with close that's a master accent. -- than an email saying I'm staying home this -- I'm not gonna be working if there's anything I can do to help please let me now. And I was contacted by the species survival center and they said if you like to come out see what we do here. And if you like you can volunteer and -- went one day love day. Volunteered there for three days a week for that entire semester and that is pretty much when I knew that's what I wanted to do for a living I just found out that the profession. You know you worked with a great Betsy Dresser I did yes and -- are very close -- suggests. She was actually my brides and tolerant yes it was a wonderful experience in and from there I've gotten. Different -- at the zoo and then eventually got offered a job there and couldn't be happier. And so you loved the swamp I -- it's great because we get to work all that the local on the animal and it's a you'll learn so much in people are so appreciative of the -- except it's really a big hit at the sale. While OKMR. We go way back. We go way back we did not but I really loved the opening of the in sectarian. And the enthusiasm. And just the feeling of let's appreciate those -- Let's really loved that spider and it just brought a whole new world really and you with a perfect person. Well thanks there's there are a lot of us that are working there yet and they're on to his credit you know Ron Foreman who are planning designing it said. I want our guest come -- understanding that in takes him values. And I very much like that. Concept because it's not something specific. You might leave and be inspired to write a poem about -- someone else might leave and wanna start a butterfly garden a third person might just absorb through books or. Online all the knowledge that can about these creatures because there's a fascinating. The play is. Not a lot of folks appreciate insects as much as they might without this wonderful attraction we have so it's great to -- I don't think Aaron is definitely -- Not only has not at all but I really wonder how many people have left an insect chairman said you know I'll never stomp on the road to -- I'll never smashed handsome vampire. I'd like to think that we've affected attitudes positively quite a lot it would be interesting to have some sort of baseline and do a survey. But. There we have colleagues -- -- the country you know who who actually work on that sort of thing from time to time they'll take. But it's a specific Arthur pod that lets say it doesn't have a very depressing agent like roaches are mosquitoes are a you know some of the ones that are considered past difference and depending on the type of informal science lesson you offer or just what east data presentation area. If you could ask those people set of questions Ford after you can she win the message works and it it would be wonderful for us to try to -- that at some point to we do it. Without taking the survey we do this sort of thing every day -- -- but -- if your point's well taken. We're gonna take a quick break we're gonna come back top two or three. Exciting people about their lives and also -- brought some a couple of things to the studio we're gonna listen to them. Stay with us I'm Angela under the don't do well. Bullets are fun Friday and it's our our favorite thing is to make new friends and that's what we do on open Mike. People in our community we just wanna get to know better and today it's Erin Egan who's a zoo keeper at the famed Louisiana swamp exhibit. Jamie or is this senior elephant and carnivore keeper. And -- Lehman who is I'm just saying you run of the place in sectarian and he is he -- mr. -- and I mean that with great affection and you brought them. Oh sure that we you're not a lot of work people saying you -- bugging your pockets of teachers and guess I don't look like and what I'm doing. And you brought I brought to Madagascar hissing roaches in the run radio you're your audience will. I hope be able to hear one of the north that they haven't yet sought it right next to Mike. -- if you can hear that guests. That is the sound you know they could become earth. That could be doing -- if they had different tones yes unfortunately I think it's all one note. What's the neat thing about this from a biological standpoint is that insects have holes called Spierkel that they -- through. And these roaches amongst the million or so known species protection able to force air out of a pair specialized miracles to make this noise when their courting each other. For -- purposes and for defensive purposes grabbing roach who testing in order frighten me make it like that yeah I think it's been giving him he's right here at and that's something to. Well he must be sent -- the butterfly garden and -- -- can imagine what -- -- have on -- thing as -- driving line. I just heard eruptions. And then you can well I have some. Blue death feigning Beatles and so right now you can you can see that look a -- and well right so watch what happens when you when you handle a little bit. It will pretend to pretend like they'll pretend like they're not even alive and so if you're predator. And you want to have a nice fresh blood and not one that's been lying around and is isn't fresh anymore. Probably at least something like that alone now I have to tell you -- played them before I came here. And they played that for a while another used to it's not particularly great job but we show these off. At the end sectarian and it's really neat to see that there was something playing possum long before pots and ever -- Let me tell you what the thought process that goes through their survival. And that's what it is -- -- you have not been to and sectarian. Tomorrow if your from Orleans parish it is free. Free free free and you just bring your ID and say I'm from -- spare us. Do not miss this opportunity it's -- -- -- a -- policy bugs now that's not much of Tennessee you're gonna see light. You're gonna see all forms of life and the people who worked their loved what they do and they just make it very very interest. Not that are wonderful zoo and aquarium -- isn't it also the record industry that's correct so the aquarium -- free all day tomorrow and the in sectarian. Orleans parish residents. Very Smart. Now we're gonna come back to animals but I wanted to. As we get to know you always say send -- something that your thinking about. Jamie. On your mind do you say. What's on your mind Matt Smith. The most recent doctor in Doctor Who is coming into -- you need to explain. You have a fascination. I do I ain't I and the geek an island of Doctor Who and my bus actually made fun of me for putting that on there. But I am I'm excited that is coming to them than your own comic con in February and you'll be grouping interest. If my boss lets me take -- fort. All of them let's all let's all call the box. And say please let this woman this is a fan of saint she's gonna meet her fans absolutely this is great. Zach you say I find myself wondering at some evil marketing wizards make up words like real mansion and Melky. I read and I said this man's mind. Works in wonderful -- Well. My father was an attorney in my mother had majored in English and so. Speaking properly in writing properly was kind of beaten into him a happy for that but it also can cause a lot of frustration when you see how things are advertise to list. And down there's there's no such thing as an LT cheese sauce Angela if it's melted it's melted in its assaults you -- -- and that's a made up word. Tomato port and you can't look look what they did in the dictionary -- at itself. If you maybe you should talk -- And. Aaron you say I'm on a personal quest to try every kind of begin king cake available that's true. One I didn't know there was -- king cake. There's actually quite and the -- number of them available in the city now which is exciting because a couple of years ago. My mom would always have to make them for me and now all those hers is still the best I'm able to try others -- the city and it's a lot of fun so where are you in the quest. Right now actually I just picked up two different eating cookie cakes from shakes triggering this morning and then I'm gonna eat -- evening. -- also tried -- on -- as well as the peacemaker out Metairie. This is great implement really and do they taste like. I think they do they do there are very can they are a little bit different but I enjoy all of them. So you have been -- how long. I think he can. Turn nine years. Yet that is. That's it or you'll vegetarians. Carnivores and I'm client at a Connecticut that interest and good for you I'm also into Moffett just. That's a big word that's above my -- books oh well. That's right of course we have a place we have a place in our that our facility comedian actor and comedian sixteen again if you have not been an instant terror and they have a kitchen. They were bringing in shafts. And I -- and we're talking about gore many bucks. And the kids seed in the allotment now. But the grownups who who will haven't been to some pallets will also realize that -- -- -- to elect to tell people whether the local or not. New Orleans has a reputation is that for the accounts that we have to uphold that behind her little counter and our -- -- to area and you should just figure it's coming from the southern kitchen it's gonna be good even if it's. Even if it's not. You know something tells me again I was -- -- Hadley chase I think -- changed -- Connecticut and one time she went we went to her place and she fixed some lovely beautiful delicious stuff she she did piece of strawberries with -- crickets and the mention it to chocolate whipped cream on him. And there was a second dish but yeah it was fantastic. And we have we have a video loop of of both -- and some other ships that runs periodically in our museum for people deceit so yes. When we got some some real local notables cooking forced. Now as far as the zoo animals that they're eating. Regular food and human food. Or were eating their. No you definitely looking at and what does the elephant it an elephant mostly today. And until I mean about a 150 pounds of food everyday. And then. So for everyone thinking they want is a pets it's probably not the most economical netstat. And I bet people do come they're into just like to take that time. -- -- you it's also a lot of cleanup and I was analysts say -- big shovels yes absolutely did that they -- shuttle's big will -- us. It will is that part of your job -- it is. And you too with -- I do. It's a lot of hard work but it's worth it you know for anybody's got a dog out there in -- in the pooper -- just visualize. And their healthy eaters -- they go more than once again. Multiple models I think you'll still feel that -- daily and -- you to a balance falling just never asked how long it takes to fill. 01. Will narrow one wheel Barrow. Takes maybe fifteen minutes to fell only can he agrees that we fill up bobcats. And kind of get letters and heavy machinery. Daily and they -- one -- used it has sent. Fertilizer and things we do diseased cells you do goal of their version of -- compost and a lot of the bulk of it is from the elephants. A lot of happy gardens out there thank you -- Tonya and change -- food. Now you don't have quite that issue do you with. The alligators and -- -- now we have a smaller -- -- the group over their that we do you deal with our fair share of -- on a daily basis so it isn't just the glamour job that we all -- now I have a lot of hard work -- get pretty dirty sometimes doing it but it yourself happy network every -- -- -- change for the world so it's on that -- we're gonna. Joined the newsroom we're gonna come back as I wanna ask you what advantages. On your job but let's go to the newsroom and Christmas. We're talking from with three marvelous people to whom work at the -- not -- And Zack who's -- in sectarian wanna remind everybody again that tomorrow is your free day if you're from Orleans parish to go to in sectarian. Or the aquarium. To show -- -- OK we were talking about. Your wonderful jobs I wanna ask first of all tell me what would be a bad day. It's hard to say there aren't very many bad days at this do from my point of view they can get a lot Iraq fell in the summertime when it's very high and there may be something have to fix outsiders. That in the swamp we had -- Likud and so. Sometimes -- might have to -- offense or something like -- and part two -- getting into a ballot are wary waiters and going out and that. Lagoon we can get pretty dirty and messy and sweaty and Massey really quickly but it's not the animals you work with -- give you the bad. I wouldn't say so I mean there are stressful days where we have to deal with an animal veterinary -- that there's something wrong with the animal can be stressful in your concern about the animals -- back to plead to a upsetting her. The bad day they usually it's on the whole pretty pretty happy. I just think of well just what you just -- I just think what a glorious job at work and there's no question about it. But just I would go to work every day very happy but I know in life you had bad days absolutely. And it but I I agree with aryan and there aren't that many bad days other than weather and for me the worst days whenever you lose an animal is probably the hardest because you working with them every day. There around and they're not your pets but you develop relationships with them and just from being around them all the time and it's it's always really hard clean these -- and -- Well most of what we deal with is pretty shortly itself the connection that you can keep bugs admittedly. As with murder -- although we do that's among the creatures on. You know I think unexpected surprises. At least for me personally I -- always roll with the punches as volatile like and one of the things -- you try to do is. You know you have for teens if you do routine right you -- surprise at the end. We have leaf cutter -- which don't sting but they have a very powerful little bite and if we really have to get our hands full leaf cutter ants and next -- you into this picture -- -- not a -- And you go back to your desk. And sometimes two or three hours later you'll just opened sharp on the -- connector up and out and it's one little girl who just you know got your leg and finally after three hours decides -- a happier and -- -- But other than that it's a pretty good at work. The -- say what that that that the toughest thing for most of us and I think I can speak for all the facilities is if you're an animal person. You have part -- job or -- related paperwork right you have to. Just not blind not trying to think about it in his -- well that's bad days we have more paperwork in Bogor. On the subject of you know the little girl goes up your neck what about have spiders got loose. Spiders and I'm pretty good escape artists and -- -- in the in the world of animals in general you know you can look at different different for reports that that Aaron and -- work with different and -- Some of them which you closed that door setup that fence put that lid on it. He pretty much don't have anything to worry about it and others they will find nooks and crannies and crevices in ways. Spiders -- that we've had a spider at a facility. There was never had to worry about -- that -- -- -- the Huntsman spider. And they're very good climbing vertical surfaces and they -- very fast so if you're dealing with the enclosure if you're cleaning it. We're doing something else and it -- up the -- out well you have to keep an island catch it and I know of at least one occasion it happened that. Catching bugs once they get away and this is something that can fly and fly quickly we usually have to get him line. -- only NASA because I live about five blocks in sectarian and I do -- that over here it's fighters. And if they they know until they would find the address go up eight floors and you and I hope that's not true and I hated it. Let's talk I want to go back to the swamp -- because it is just alligators it's bear and we have fox. And he we have a very provide the variety of species in the tropics have -- the largest tax a variety in the entire resume so it's a lot of fun. And so your day is feeding all of them. Feeding all of them cleaning up their poop cleaning -- closures. And that's pretty much heard general morning as you deal with the animals attack on them -- Mixer everything went. Okay of them and an eye for an eighty feet and let them out on tape that Bennett and clean their whole thing. You know its glory surrounded by great things stay with -- we're gonna continue our talk with these incredible people and I'm going to ask them. Our elephant relating. How she knows that -- upon him are having a bad day. Friday after this I love our new friends they are Erin Egan and Jamie north of the up beautiful -- we have and -- Lehman from -- in sectarian. And I have to ask them join me in every day get to look at those two beautiful elephants and other carnivores yes yes. Do you do you because they are so Smart they are yes without question there's not. Which says to me they have feelings and influencing things were now we know that elephants mourn. For instance it's Rachel can they have a crummy today for that wake up and a bad mood. -- are I mean I. Quite in the same way that we -- and we we try very hard to make sure that. They don't have bad days we give them lots of enrichment items like the toys and things for them to play with there highly social so we spent a lot of time with them. But sometimes. They're kind of like kids you can kind of tell -- there in -- moods -- her little standoffish. They don't really wanna go anywhere. But for the most part. They don't have very many bad days they're both very good girls -- both easy going. Generally. Generally happy elephants. And you kind of course have special training as you all due to do it with these animals this is not absolute and pat. That's because they know -- absolutely absolutely any any animal that we work with there at their wild animals have. And even if they were born in captivity their -- Where safety is always our highest priority -- -- is very vigilant and making sure everyone is being safe. You know I've had this conversation recently with somebody who who who made the statement to she's very sad when she goes isn't because she thinks you know they're not on their habitat. And in my argument has always been especially as -- like on. That creates beautiful habitat they're not in cages. That this may be the only opportunity for the majority of people ever to see these animals so if you seed them and learn about them. Then as we fight for their survival in the wild he'll understand why. Absolutely why we need to stop these poachers and why we need to you know we are gonna lose species. That's absolutely right and for a lot of these animals too especially larger ones like elephants they're not very many other places for them to go because they're releasing habitat in the wild time. For elephants for example they don't really have any natural predators except humans so we are -- Depleting than elephant population in the wild so yeah we. They're here and weird that onion -- for example we've we try to give -- and that's on the weekend. Make them comfortable and happy. And they get attention from the public they do so and she -- that especially she -- she's cute in chief. In doing is all the attention that she gates let's go to vanity vanity thy name is -- didn't have like what and you're right as an act bugs have a shorter life. Nonetheless appreciated. That because it's all whole system I think one of the most fascinating things happening in sectarian if Washington can't colony. -- that is fascinating. I think that our on the surveys that we've done it's right behind butterflies in terms of that the second most popular -- that we have. And what are the things a lot of people don't realize it's one of the things makes our job exciting keeps on art houses that. While there might be one million species of described in checks out there most of them were under a quarter inch in size. They wanted to buy themselves. A lot -- drab and color. And they're pretty good high intensity around the bump monologue none of which is good if you try to show people are excited at. We're looking for things that are large active or colorful can be housed in the group and and it certainly. Fall into those categories you know their allotment one place went on and there's a lot of movement going on and I think that's certainly. But something that attracts most people think about this for another continent region where there fishermen animals or birds. But within -- it's certainly a challenge to find ones that make. Good display animals so that people pay attention to them and then ultimately. She were discussing earlier care about conservation issues an and become more light -- as to what we need to look out for which is just the big things. You know I always tell people the world would be a lot poorer if we didn't have tigers in Wales but our species would be okay. If they weren't around it's chatter whereas if you -- bugs out of the equation you have entire ecosystems collapsed so they're certainly important. But but getting actively -- They're neat and an a lot of people don't realize this when they just look at the exhibit the graphic explains it's much. They don't eat the least they actually chewed them up spit them out and -- fungus and the fungus is their food. And among the chance to the world this is a mutual not just finding something eating it to change it and they are effectively farming their own food. And isn't it true that. They have their own society for lack of that a murderer. And that that that -- actually the older and really become the ones that. The pick characters yes yeah I remember him coming -- It must have been talking to our director Jamie who's yeah master's work with with moderates and yes if you look at age related foraging behavior which is thesis was on. The young ambassador vigorous can afford if you will energetically work outside the colony and go on for days for food and scout and and -- stepped back. But the older that's working in this don't area where where garbage is processed. Under the soil in nature and exhibits and yeah his his morbid take on it is well there are yield any -- -- mental work in the cemetery there and how -- ago. But to -- But I guess it's it's -- it's an interesting phenomenon and to say that -- societies is it's a good term a lot of pilots who who who frame. Yet studies that way. The whole thing is fascinating stay with this will be right back. We'll just so happens that today is a red letter day for an audit and institute because it has done groundbreaking. For the Audubon Louisiana nature center. It's going to be brought back of course it was devastated by Katrina and now the rebuilding begins and that's that's very thrilling and a very important part I think of the institute. Very quickly before we on time. I want to know from each -- you what you want people to know about animals you don't think Dana. Not all of these offers and -- coming by within the first -- -- It's hardly an edit it's a very hard questions. Exact. Any animals in the broadest sense right not just the ones that know what happened in general. I think a lot of people don't stop to think about how often animals played a role in our lives like you may live in the middle of the concrete jungle. And you may not own pet. But think about the motifs on the towels that you decorate with the stuff DC on television that incorporates animals. Sounds images in your head. They're important in so many ways beyond just being fascinating in their own right. Will you all are important in every way and I think he was assistant for the work you do with those I know you love your job. But I think it's such an important element of our community thank you all everybody stay with this. Ian -- gonna join us because we're gonna tell you what's happening over the weekend now let's go to the newsroom and Chris Miller.

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