From the beginning of time, people across all cultures have been enthralled by wild animals. From spotting an African leopard on a Kenyan safari to admiring the elephants at the local zoo, we just can’t seem to get enough of wildlife encounters. From a safe viewing spot, that is.
For some folks, this innate human affinity for the wild kingdom runs just a little deeper. These are the brave souls who choose to work with wild animals professionally. Whether that’s caring for animals at a small urban zoo, overseeing a breeding program at a major conservation center, or protecting animals in the wild near their natural habitat, these dedicated caregivers are committed to safeguarding the individual animals under their care – and in many cases, to the survival of the species as a whole.
Caring for wild animals requires extensive training and strict adherence to safety protocols. Even those semi-domesticated zoo animals that seem to have it pretty easy compared to their untamed counterparts are still wild creatures at their core. Regardless of how laid back and comfortable around people an animal may seem, its behavior can change in an instant. In some cases, this creates a life-or-death situation requiring the animal’s caregivers to make an excruciatingly hard decision on the spot. These are the type of harrowing stories you’re about to read.
We begin with a story about an orangutan named Dana, her devoted caregivers and the miracle baby that almost never was.