Who doesn’t love animals?

There’s something weird that happens when all of us surround ourselves with people who have a similar view on this topic: we forget that there are people out there who are apathetic or even DISLIKE animals.  Yes, really.

Now I’m usually one to be open-minded and accept different points of view (without necessarily changing my own opinion), but I think people who don’t like animals are nuts and out of touch.  

But one thing we can all agree on, no matter if you have a companion animal, work with animals in a vet/rehab/wild research/keeper/trainer setting, are an activist, or just a wildlife appreciator, it’s WEIRD and sad when you run into someone who thinks animals are stupid or just here for “our” use.  Today’s Middle Flipper is all about this topic, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

When Two Worlds Collide: Animal Lovers Versus the Rest of the Planet


Q
It was really awesome to read your last blog. This summer/season I have been slowly applying to jobs. I have failed 1/2 swim tests, have had 3 rejections from interviews, and two black hole applications. It's been a discouraging summer but I've been keeping my head up and putting my focus towards finishing school. Thank you for all the help and advice you give to us aspiring trainers! It's hard to imagine supervisors were once in my position. But thank you for keeping it real and encouraging! (:
A

I felt the same way when I was an aspiring and then a new trainer about how hard it was to imagine people who’d been in the field a while having a tough time.

Just keep your chin up, keep adapting without losing yourself, and keep applying!


Opinion post! Put on your thinking cap, ‘cause we’re gonna play a game.

veganprimatologist:

I’ve been seeing a lot of “animal rights” activists passing around photos of zoo animals and taking them completely out of context in order to support their propaganda that all zoo animals are abused by their keepers. 

We’re going to play a little thinking game.

Read More

Exaaaactly.

This topic is not something that has to further delineate the “pro” or “anti” zoo (pointless) debate. It’s the fact that by photo bias, we are distracting our attention away from the issues animals actually face. If we spend time and effort trying to shame a zoo because a very out-of-context photo goes viral, we take away that time from an animal in a place who is truly suffering.

I really dislike this bipartisan tendency we have to claim a “side”. The only side can be “for the animals”….with the methodology being the only point of debate.


For all of your aspiring trainers of any age, know this:
You’ll probably hit a few walls on your way to getting in the field.  Those walls will manifest as: botched interviews, embarrassing questions, missed application dates, insecurity, and rejection.But guess what?  It’s par for the course.  How do I know?  Oh, because I’ve been there.  In fact, maybe it’s time I show that I don’t have all the answers.  So today, here’s a juicy blog on all the stupid things I did that I thought were career suicide (and I’m happy to say, I was wrong).
My Professional Failures: Aspiring Trainer Edition

For all of your aspiring trainers of any age, know this:

You’ll probably hit a few walls on your way to getting in the field.  Those walls will manifest as: botched interviews, embarrassing questions, missed application dates, insecurity, and rejection.

But guess what?  It’s par for the course.  How do I know?  Oh, because I’ve been there.  In fact, maybe it’s time I show that I don’t have all the answers.  So today, here’s a juicy blog on all the stupid things I did that I thought were career suicide (and I’m happy to say, I was wrong).


My Professional Failures: Aspiring Trainer Edition


Are we all smiling because summer is almost over? Well, maybe not all of you.  Maybe summer means back to school, or work, or whatever.  But many of us not only work through the summer, but it’s our busiest season.  It means lots of long hours and sometimes it makes us pretty tired.  However, I think summers are a blast in the marine mammal field.  The animals at any point can tell us, “Uh, I’m so over this show.  Good luck k bye”, so we have to work together to make sure everyone (humans and non-humans) find the fun in summer.Today’s Middle Flipper looks back on a great busy season.  What did you guys do this summer?What I Did This Summer

Are we all smiling because summer is almost over? 

Well, maybe not all of you.  Maybe summer means back to school, or work, or whatever.  But many of us not only work through the summer, but it’s our busiest season.  It means lots of long hours and sometimes it makes us pretty tired.  However, I think summers are a blast in the marine mammal field.  The animals at any point can tell us, “Uh, I’m so over this show.  Good luck k bye”, so we have to work together to make sure everyone (humans and non-humans) find the fun in summer.

Today’s Middle Flipper looks back on a great busy season.  What did you guys do this summer?

What I Did This Summer


Who loves penguins???
"Oh, me!! They are so beautiful and majestic!  Wait, THOSE aren’t penguins!"
"What do you mean those are penguins? Isn’t it too hot?"
"Those aren’t real penguins."

I’ve learned over my employment at my current facility that even though penguins are definitely on the “Elite Animal Group” list in many people’s heads, that really only seems to apply to cold weather penguins.  In fact, there is an entire class of animal species who never become people’s favorites, and I’d like to know why.   At my facility, the African penguin is, for some reason, not a member of the Elite Animal Group (from a  guest perspective).  But all of us trainers think they are awesome because, uh, they are.  Therefore, today’s Middle Flipper is all about them.  And if you are tempted to not read about them, then maybe that’s a sign you SHOULD.Penguins Are Cool (Unless They’re Hot)

Who loves penguins???

"Oh, me!! They are so beautiful and majestic!  Wait, THOSE aren’t penguins!"

"What do you mean those are penguins? Isn’t it too hot?"

"Those aren’t real penguins."

I’ve learned over my employment at my current facility that even though penguins are definitely on the “Elite Animal Group” list in many people’s heads, that really only seems to apply to cold weather penguins.  In fact, there is an entire class of animal species who never become people’s favorites, and I’d like to know why.   

At my facility, the African penguin is, for some reason, not a member of the Elite Animal Group (from a  guest perspective).  But all of us trainers think they are awesome because, uh, they are.  Therefore, today’s Middle Flipper is all about them.  And if you are tempted to not read about them, then maybe that’s a sign you SHOULD.

Penguins Are Cool (Unless They’re Hot)


8.5.14, Destin Pass (Destin, FL) in the Gulf of Mexico

This morning around 11:00am I saw this group of people on jet skies harass two cow/calf bottlenose dolphin pairs.  They pushed the dolphins towards our boat (which was in about 4 feet of water on a sandbar) which did not allow the dolphins to get out of the jet ski corral.  We started backing up, but got stopped by a parasailing boat and more jet skis, so I took the opportunity to 1) take a bunch of hi-res photos of these people, and 2) try to calmly and nicely explain to them that they were trapping the dolphins and needed to give them more room.

Well, they ignored us.  When we were finally able to get out of there, we lost our tempers and I pulled my phone out to take a video of how horrible these people were to these animals.  This is the result (and I swear, sorry!).

FWC was notified and I have an album on this video on my Facebook.  But can we get this moved around the internet to at least embarrass these people so they’ll learn how to safely and respectfully observe wildlife?


Q
Where do you train marine mammals? Sorry, I'm interested because I don't agree with all aquariums (I'm sure you know what in referring to)
Anonymous
A

I work at a small, privately-owned facility.  I’ve worked at three others previous to that, and have worked at show, interactive, and rescue/rehab facilities.


Q
I've done one marine mammal internship, am about to start an internship at a zoo, and I am graduating from college in December. Based on your "Tips for Good Interning", I should be applying for jobs right? I still feel so unprepared! During my SeaWorld interview for a training position, they asked what my training experience was, and I realized then that I really haven't trained an animal ever. I have worked with animals a lot, but not actively training. Does this mean I'm not ready for a job?
Anonymous
A

It’s a catch 22, seriously.  The more internships you have does not equate to more animal experience.  So just keep applying and honing your interview skills.  Sometimes the questions about training experience has more to do with how well you interview, your technical knowledge of training (like terminology and hypotheticals) than it does your actual experience…because they are going to teach you their methods of training anyway.  They won’t just let you come in and start working with the animals.


Q
So my dream job is to do exactly what you do but when I tell people they laugh in my face and than proceed to ask "wait are you serious"? I was just wondering if you've ever experienced this or if any of your friends or family weren't supportive of what you wanted to do with your life
Anonymous
A

Oh yes….just remember they are probably either saying that because 1) they care about you and think they’re protecting you from being disappointed if you don’t make it or 2) they are jealous that you’re pursuing a dream.  Either way, their opinions don’t affect whether or not you get the job :)  So keep moving forward!