School is out for the summer and if you who have been members at the DWA for some time, you have probably figured out the best days and times to avoid the crowds! For those of you that prefer to visit soon after we open, you may have noticed some unusual activity the past few weeks. The day-to-day business is often routine, although it seems that we have no two days alike, we sometimes become creatures of habit when taking care of the many plants and animals for which we are responsible – animals are fed on much the same schedule each day, plants are watered on certain days, before and/or after public hours, etc. The DWA Emergency Action Plan identifies responsible and acceptable actions that ensure the safety and well-being of all employees, visitors and animals at the DWA. Some of the emergencies for which we are trained to respond are: Animal Escape, Person in an Animal Exhibit, Fire/Gas or Chemical Leaks, Weather Warning, Medical Emergency, Disoriented Person, Criminal Activity and any other that might arise.
You probably have witnessed the DWA staff in action when looking for a lost child. This happens frequently and most of the time it is the parent(s) that are lost. We have evacuated the building due to a fire pull station being pulled, usually by an inquisitive child or the result of a faulty smoke detector. These “emergencies” are ones with which we are familiar, but in the spring/summer months, we also practice drills for tornado and hurricane warnings. Most recently a drill was for “Person in River.” One such drill involved non-injured Luke, a diver at the DWA who jumped in the river fully clothed for the drill, to be pulled from the water by use of a life-ring. A second drill involved a person in the same exhibit that was injured, requiring the use of a transport board. The contingency plans for each emergency are quite detailed and whether real or a practice drill, each must be responded to as if the emergency is actual.
To better help us with emergencies should the need arise, are: off-duty Dallas Police (weekends, holidays, spring break and evening events) and trained EMTs (weekends, summer months, holidays and spring break). In addition, many of our staff are certified in basic CPR training. We do not anticipate an increase in emergencies, but as we continue to grow, these trained professionals assist in many ways – watching the exits, entrances, parking lots, giving directions, etc. — just their presence gives guests and staff a better sense of security.
We recently returned from our third trip to Iquitos Peru to release Antillean manatees. Details of this successful trip are presented in Earth Day 2013.
The Lizards of Madagascar introduces some of the reptiles that can usually be seen in their outdoor exhibit. Blue-Banded Toucanets describes the breeding success we are experiencing with this species.
While I was in Peru, Earth Day at the DWA included activities that have been written about in An Ocean Full of Promise. The topic for the day was “Let’s Talk Trash”, one closely related to the Book of the Month Tracking Trash – Flotsam, Jetsam and the Science of Ocean Motion. This book is one that will make you think about its contents, whether you visit the ocean or not. The next time you are asked “plastic or paper”, you will know the better answer.
Thanks for your continued support of the DWA.