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Hi, it’s Brendan again, still on exchange in Canada, and very slowly loosing the ability to feel in each and every one of my fingers. 

Did you ever go to sleep one night and when you wake up the next morning everything, and I do mean everything, is white?  Truth be told, I’d never really experienced snow before this. It is truly a ‘Winter Wonderland’. Whilst Australia is all set for a bright and scorching summer, Canada is cooling right down! 

The snow is white, light and fluffy and the temperature, well … along with wind-chill, today was minus 25. Ouch! This is a very different experience to zoo keeping at home. If I need to get into a building I must first shovel my way to it. If I’d like to access an exhibit I first need to use the warmth my bare hands to defrost the lock and if I place my tongue on any metal, I won’t be going anywhere fast. A little bit of a learning curve, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges. 

As snow is a very new experience for me, today I decided to walk Koto and Tari, our New Guinea Singing Dogs. I put their collars on, attached their leads, opened the access doors to outside and … the dogs went crazy with excitement! They dived head-first into piles of snow, dug holes and even attempted making snow angels rolling around on their backs - you had to use your imagination a bit. Snow does present many fun opportunities and not just for the dogs.

It is brilliant to see how the outdoor animals respond to the changing seasons. Seeing Polar Bears create and hug massive snowballs or swim in pools of ice, Snow Leopards blend into their exhibit, pouncing from nowhere and seeing Amur Tigers brightly juxtaposed against the white landscape is very surreal. But just as there are those suited to a brutal winter, there are others that just aren’t and must come inside. Being inside though doesn’t mean they have to miss out on the fun. 

The best example would be our Domestic Ferrets Thor and Hercules. In the spirit of things I gave them a pile of snow. They weren’t even tentative! On seeing the snow they plowed right in; fur erect, body reeling with pure energy. One moment you see them and the next completely hidden, only to pop out a moment later, faces covered in snow. It’s very hard to contain your laughter when you see a ferret with a snow moustache. It’s mighty cute! I think I’m very much going to enjoy this experience. Happy holidays all, and a safe new year,

Bird Trainer, Brendan 

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