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MLA Full: "Ask Jessi 5." YouTube, uploaded by Animal Wonders Montana, 23 October 2015,
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Jessi and Lollipop the skunk answer your questions.

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Hey! We're here at Animal Wonders. I'm Jessi and this is Lollipop the striped skunk. In our spare time, we enjoy exploring the forest, digging in the dirt and curling in his soft blankets. We also enjoy answering questions. Today we're going to answer some of your questions that you asked - well, I'm going to answer them. Lollipop is just going to... skunk.


Let's get right into the questions!

Troy R. @kujmous asks, "Because there is never a day that animal care can be ignored, how do you get a day off?"

Yes, this is a big deal. Animal care is an everyday job. There's just no getting around it. For me, a "day off" is just having to do the animals without having to do all the other stuff like business, emails, meetings and presentations. Since we don't have any other employees, animal care falls directly to me and Augusto, and every once in a while we get to take a short trip but it takes a lot to train someone to take care of the animals while we're away.

Next question! From Satwik Chalasani, "Do you have an end goal for number of animals you will be helping?"

We don't have a specific number, we're just constantly adjusting to whoever comes along that we have the means of taking care of. We do have to turn away a lot of animals simply because we can't provide them care without putting our current animals at risk financially. There's also only so many animals that Augusto, me and a few volunteers can care for. If we do end up getting more animals, I'd like to have another employee to help take care of the daily tasks of animal care.

Next one, from Sew_Lin. "Is there a type of animal you'd like to care for one day that you haven't worked with yet?"

There are so many amazing animals that I haven't worked with yet! I've worked with some amazing animals that we don't have at Animal Wonders like a serval, a ring-tailed cat or a raccoon. Now, if one of those guys needed help, I would love to do that for them. When I went into zoo school, I thought I wanted to be an elephant keeper. There's no way that we can provide for an elephant, but I think it'd be amazing to be able to care for them. I'm also kind of in love with hornbills and aricaris because they're just so interesting. But we don't get to really choose what animals we have, we just get to take care of whoever comes along, if we can.

Alright, next question. Rubymimosa asks, "What concrete actions can I take to help keep exotic, endangered and inappropriate animals out of the pet trade?"

Good question! The easiest way is to not purchase an animal who would be, or whose species would be, harmed by being kept as a pet. Another good way is to educate about the animals. You can share our YouTube channel or share information with others. The more someone knows about an exotic animal and the care they require, the less desirable they might seem as an impulse buy or full-time responsibility. You can also prevent inappropriate animals from being kept as pets by the general public by being active in your local government. In the United States, many laws are passed by city councils, banning certain species from being owned within city limits. There are also sometimes statewide bans. The reason that many of these laws and bans were proposed was because citizens spoke up and voiced their concern.

Last question comes from Raidfreak. "What's your opinion of zoos? Would you ever consider converting to a zoo if your place got that big?"

I think the idea of a zoo is wonderful, and the reality of animal care and conservation efforts in many zoos is absolutely spot on. Some zoos, not so much. There are a few differences between Animal Wonders and a typical zoo. One is that we rescue most of our animals. The big zoos that have the largest or most endangered or difficult to care for species usually belong to a zoological association. Their animals are carefully regulated by breeding programs in order to propagate a healthy population. They usually don't take in many rescues because their genetic history is unknown. Also, zoos have their animals on display most of the time. The animals that we have, have often been through a traumatic event that causes them to have anxiety. Some get extremely nervous around strangers and are only comfortable in front of an audience if they're with someone that they completely trust. This is why our presentations work but why being on display wouldn't work for them. I'm also very focused on education and I feel the best way to learn about an animal is to have a person presenting the information to you in a fun and interactive way. So, there is a possibility that at some point we might have guided tours at Animal Wonders but we'll just have to wait and see.

Thanks for asking all the great questions. I hope that you learnt more about Animal Wonders and the animal care world. Lollipop is done answering questions now so we're going to to call it a day. If you guys would like to go an adventure with us every week, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel, Animal Wonders Montana. If you have any questions for me or Lollipop, you can find me on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. Thanks, guys.


When she was younger, before coming to Animal Wonders, she was yelled at, had things thrown at her, was covered up and shut away. We decided that it was her turn to get pampered.