Sunday, October 4, 2009

CAZA Conference in Edmonton, Alberta

Well here we are in Edmonton, Alberta for the National Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conference. What a ride getting here and after a $60.00 cab fare to get to the hotel we got into our room. The conference hotel is the Fantasy Land Hotel in the West Edmonton Mall. The room is great and the mall is something else. Not being a mall person it is a bit over whelming. The best part is the California Sea Lions and the Marine Center that is part of the mall. I have watched them train and then saw the show three times. This place has more water flowing than the Saint John River, it is unbelievable that with all this water we had not water the first night we arrived ... so much for that relaxing hot tub in the room for the first night.

We did take in some really interesting meetings ( they ran concurrent sessions so it made it hard to choose) but we really did enjoy Jay Ingram's Keynote Address. Listen to some interesting ways they are working with animals with utilizing food as a training tool, but to be honest we already do that. They did go in depth with clicker or whistle training that we may want to look at in the future. We took the tour of West Edmonton Mall's Sea Life and their Ring Tailed Lemur and Sloth exhibit. Then on the the Valley Zoo where we started off on a tour but being us we finally just went on our own and got a chance to talk to the keepers and staff. They have about 50 animal and a staff of 18, not including night staff. They use golf carts to a great extent and we got a look at their new Lemur building that cost 2.3 million dollars. All I can say is 2.3 million will go a lot further in Saint John than it does here.

Well I managed to get really sick while out here and I am just beginning to feel human again. I can tell you I miss Saint John, NB and it seems no matter where we travel we always are glad to head home. The hotel is nice but we miss the Zoo, we miss the people and we miss our dogs. We are unusual in that most of the people here work at their zoo but they don't live there. I think we may have a different outlook than most of them and I can honestly say that despite the problems we may face I would rather be there. Our corner of the world is the best place to live, work and have family and travelling just reinforces that when we leave. Can't wait to get back to the zoo.

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