Volunteering – Walkden Sixth Form Centre

Work experience/volunteering

Where:

Walkden Sixth Form Centre, Walkden. Lancashire.

When?

July 2015 – July 2016.

I began working at Walkden Sixth Form Centre in the animal unit shortly after the completion of my 2 year Animal Care and Management Diploma, in which I proudly received a D*D*D* qualification.

My roles at the college consisted of basic animal care and husbandry (cleaning, feeding and watering), alongside assisting Student’s practical sessions within the animal unit. I also took regular trips to the local vets with unwell guinea pigs Gerald and Harold, who became poorly shortly after neutering.

I also became involved within the Hedgehog unit within the animal care centre, and worked closely with rescued hedgehogs. The first being an male, named Teddy, who was released months later. We worked on a rota, I engaged in the morning duties and often the afternoon duties before going home. This involved feeding, daily weight checking (to ensure healthy weight gain was occurring), recording and cleaning out the enclosure.

The role allowed me to build on my people skills, whilst growing in confidence and gaining experience with a collection of animal species. Ranging from small and large mammals, reptiles, birds and fish.

Volunteering – Greenslate Community Farm

Work experience/volunteering

Where:

Greenslate Community Farm. Orrell, Wigan.

Duration:

One day.

Roles:

I volunteered at Greenslate Community Farm for the duration of one day. This was nearing a scheduled open day, so my tasks were mainly cleaning and maintenance focused.

I collected the Hen’s freshly laid eggs, cleaned out the duck enclosure and scrubbed the outdoor rabbit enclosure. This consisted of a large, square wooden run which five of us lifted before proceeding with the disinfecting duties to assist the removal of faeces. I then refilled the water bottles, before carefully attaching them and placing the rabbits back inside the run, after the disinfectant had dried.

I then cleaned out a stable, which appeared to be filled with tools and other forms of equipment and necessities. This was to ensure it was safe and clean enough to house one of the goats overnight, as he had to be separated from his brother while receiving specialist veterinary treatment.

Following this, I weeded the overgrown grassy area in preparation for another enclosure being relocated to the area.

Volunteering – Little Owl Farm

Animals, Work experience/volunteering

Where:

Little Owl Farm, Oldham. Lancashire.

https://m.facebook.com/LittleOwlFarm/#_%23_

When?

February 2017 – Present.

I began volunteering at Little Owl Farm in February, 2017. After an email and 3 bus rides lead me to finding myself at the farm for the first time.

Roles:

My roles at the farm include basic animal care and husbandry (Cleaning out, feeding, grooming), whilst working with a collection of wonderful animal species. Including: Small and large mammals (Goats, Sheep, Donkeys and Rabbits) And birds. I’ve made friends, grown in confidence and expanded on both my knowledge and experience within the animal care industry.

I also enjoy spending quality time with the animals and encouraging them to remain both mentally and physically stimulated through different forms of enrichment. Alongside ensuring they are content and healthy.

Additionally, I enjoy expanding on my knowledge and experience with animal and nature photography. Snapping my farmyard friends brings me joy, and I love picturing animals in that given moment and sharing my images with others.

Second year – Growing, learning and finding acceptance

University

I’ve done it.

This morning I sat my final Exam (Conservation Practice) meaning that I’ve successfully completed my second university year, and what an incredible year it’s been!

I believe that whilst first year was both an enjoyment and a success, my admiration for university life has increased significantly this year as I’ve become more confident as both an individual and an Animal Behaviourist as I’ve been able to expand on my current knowledge of given subject areas, whilst developing new interests, meeting new people and overcoming many, many difficult hurdles. I’ve also learned more about myself as a person, my abilities to overcome my struggles and to pull myself back up after falling.

This academic year became the year I began changing my style, for the better. I’ve never been a typical jeans and branded trainers kind of girl. I became renowned for my snazzy space buns and vibrant rainbow cardigan. Amongst bundles of glitter! Subconsciously, a new and personalised fashion sense signified a new beginning and a brighter outlook on life. I’ve enjoyed being quirky and finding the confidence to wear things that make me smile.

I’m flourishing and I’m growing. I’m on a journey of self discovery and I’m now more motivated than ever to tackle my Anorexia to venture on a journey towards health and happiness. I plan to spend the summer making memories, volunteering and working on and prioritising my physical and mental health and well-being, ready to start third year energised and motivated.

The year began rocky, I became victim to my mind and evolving thoughts of self destruction and relied heavily on harmful coping mechanisms. My first week back consisted of appointments in the councillors office, not your typical Freshers week, and routine appointments with my psychiatric nurse. Thankfully, I managed to remain grounded and focused with the help of my incredible, supportive friends and tutors, as we sailed through the year together and made lots of unforgettable memories along the way.

Second year became the year I found a new passion for the style of Dance, Jazz. I began the year encouraged to try a new class within BU (Bangor University) Dance, and it became a place I felt comfortable straight away, as I grew in confidence and used the class to release the energy I had collected throughout the week. This also enabled me to make new friends, an area which has always proven to be a struggle for me, but I soon began feeling accepted with the people I gladly met along the way.

I also experienced the wonderful and unforgettable opportunity of venturing to Florida for the completion of my field course module. Again, spending time with the most considerate, kind and joyous people whilst making new memories and experiencing new things. I once struggled to leave my bedroom, I exceeded my own expectations and stepped out of my comfort zone massively by flying over 4,000 miles away from home. I now aim to plan future adventures both abroad and within The UK because I want to live, I want to learn and I’m motivated to find happiness.

Second year issued me with valuable life lessons. It helped me to understand that asking for help is okay and that is doesn’t signify failure. I’ve learned that simply being myself is enough, and I’m focusing more on exceeding my own goals and aspirations as opposed to being the missing jigsaw piece in society. I value acceptance from others, but it’s time I begin prioritising acceptance within myself, for myself.

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.

I’ve spent lots of valuable time with my friends, who I love wholeheartedly. I simply wouldn’t wish to succeed through university without the incredible people I’ve met. Very recently, we visited Foel Farm, I felt incredibly happy and care free, motivated to carry on fighting and to fight even harder to allow me to fully embrace more indelible moments.

I even had my first ice lolly in 6 whole years! I felt super comfortable with my friends and the time felt right. They tucked into ice creams and I opted for a fruit pastel lolly as we were simultaneously driven around on a quad bike tour. I have a vast collection of fear foods to challenge, rules to tackle and rituals to overcome, but I believe in myself and I know each small step I take takes me closer to better things.

Second year has concluded. I’m thankful for the knowledge I’ve gained and for the inspiration I’ve received from my wonderful Lecturers as they’ve taught me valuable life lessons and assisted the expansion of my knowledge. They’ve issued me with hope when all seemed dark and during the times I woefully began losing faith in myself. I truly am blessed to be a student here at Bangor University.

And it’s now time for Summer, where I aim to delve into many adventures whilst focusing on my recovery, health and happiness!

Florida: Day nine and ten 🇱🇷

The Florida Files

Our final day in Florida had rapidly approached, after what had been an incredible, memorable and fun packed venture with the most wonderful group of people who I expect to be friends for life.

The experience left me feeling both blessed and hopeful, whilst remaining optimistic for future experiences abroad. I can’t wait to be back in the field! I’ve carefully begun planning my next adventure, so stay tuned…

While the majority of students were spending the remainder of the time at Vester packing the rest of their belongings, a few of us (myself, Annabel, Georgina and Wynn) headed to Lovers Key with the aspirations of gaining a final manatee sighting. We set off quickly and sat comfortably in the spacious minibus as we soon approached our destination. 

Approximately ten minutes after stepping out of the bus and perching comfortably at the side of the lake, we had the privilege of spotting two stunning manatees within very close proximity of us. The manatee swam elegantly with her calf beside her making noticeable rippled movements in the surrounding waters. 

 To our delight, after a mere 10 minutes spent patiently waiting for manatees to swim within a noticeably proximity of us, we encountered the delightful, memorable experience of viewing both a manatee and her cub swimming elegantly within close viewing distance. Our previous manatee sightings were certainly exceptional, however, viewing the endangered species up close was a truly phenomenal experience.

Above photo for reference, not my image. After filling the boot of the minibus with our belongings, we drove to a nearby shopping mall before approaching Southwest Florida International Airport. We stayed at the mall for roughly 2 hours before beginning our 24 hour journey back home to Bangor. The mall was surrounded with stunning fauna species, alongside ducks and large species of koi fish contentedly inhabiting the surrounding water fountains.

We then drove to Southwest Florida International Airport, proceeding to unload the minibus to make our way into the airport to begin the check in process, ready for our first 3-hour flight to Philadelphia. The flight was speedy, as I wrapped myself comfortably in the blanket provided accompanied by proceeding to watch a collection of inflight movies, including Mamma Mia and Tangled.

After arriving in Philadelphia, we quickly made our way to the gate ready to board our next flight to Manchester. The second flight lasted approximately 9 hours. Then, after arriving in Manchester at roughly 8am, we collected our luggage and approached the coach in preparation for the 2 hour journey to Bangor.

Revision tips – Second year Undergraduate Student

University

Exam season is quickly approaching, as we’ve reached the end of our Easter break. I hope everybody has had a productive break whilst remembering the importance of relaxing. I wanted to share some revision tips, as a second-year Undergraduate Student. Revision tips in which I am constantly modifying and evolving in a bid to become more productive and to succeed. 

Personally, I’m a visual learner. I thrive upon making flashcards, watching videos and reading articles. Furthermore, drawing diagrams and making my notes colourful is an essential for me. I prefer taking a more “active” approach to my studies, it certainly helps me to retain bundles of information. 

Disclaimer: Understandably, our minds are all programmed to work differently and in our own unique and efficient ways. Moreover, the revision tips I implement in my daily schedule may not be effective for you personally, but this is where I greatly encourage you to try new and exciting techniques!

It’s important not to overload yourselves with too much information just to gain the satisfaction of completing endless hours of revision. Overloads will result in stress and increased anxiety levels, please know your limits and take care of your health. 

I became confused while understanding the different revision methods students abide by. I personally begin working a month before my exams, but I know others who settle down a few nights before the examination is set to take place. This is all okay. 

Revision can be tough if you fall into comparison, primarily the comparison of not completing as many hours as a friend. More hours of revision doesn’t always equate to more productivity, sometimes, reducing your hours can be more productive in terms of memorising information and feeling more satisfied. I recently became fascinated by “Study with me” trends circulating around YouTube, with young adults proudly sharing their revision schedules alongside issuing helpful techniques. While this is helpful, it’s important to understand what is best for you and your well-being, you’re under no obligation to study for 14 hour periods just because a social media influencer did.

I’ve grown to admire revision breaks whilst appreciating the benefits they hold, as they allow us to recharge and to retain information in a more efficient way. My revision becomes successful when breaks are implemented to issue me with another focus, like the simplicity of going for a walk, watching a documentary or spending time with a friend. Taking breaks often stands as a struggle for me, but ensuring I plan them and use them efficiently helps with reducing my anxiety levels massively. 

I set myself revision goals and I believe it’s an important asset in order for me to reach my optimal productive potential. I revise for a maximum of 7 hours per day, expanding on this would not be beneficial for me as I’m learning to find a balance in life and I would simply become overwhelmed with the information. Furthermore, it’s also important and very necessary to priorotise sleep (always, not just throughout university). Sleeping helps with concentration and focus, and I’ve found that being rested helps me to be more productive. Try to avoid working until crazy hours in the morning (although tempting…) 

USEFUL APPS

Social media is forever developing, meaning the opportunities are limitless and there are many, wonderful things our smart phones are capable of assisting us with.

In my first university year, I familiarized myself with revision apps which continue to aid me in various and effective ways. Apps that allow us to expand on our knowledge whilst encouraging us to stay focused.

1) QUIZLET

Quizlet is an incredible study app, with resources for both Students and Teachers, with a tool available to search for your chosen subject area, issued with flashcards, tests and study sets. You can create personal study sets for individual exams and study subjects and share them with friends.

Fun fact: Over 90% of Students who reported using Quizlet received higher marks.

2) FLIPD

I very recently discovered Flipd whilst engaging in a search for helpful revision tools in a bid to keep my brain mentally stimulated. I became drawn to this app in particular due to the encouragement of important areas often neglected (especially during stressful situations!) such as mindfulness, sleep and relaxation. I use the app multiple times daily, I set myself goals and feel encouraged to stick to them. Ie: revising a specific topic for an hour, or spending time away from my phone and reading. 

Fun fact: 85% of users who began using Flipd felt more productive overall.

3) BLACKBOARD LEARN

I’m under the impression that Blackboard learn may just be an app for University Students; I could be wrong and I apologise if so! However, I love Blackboard and appreciate the organisation it holds. I find Blackboard to be an incredibly useful resource whenever I wish to go through lecture content, to listen to panopto recordings to jog my memory, or to find useful course and module updates. The app also enables you to view your grades and to view assignment feedback, with the addition of email notifications to ensure you never miss an announcement, which is always beneficial in order to improve on future assignments. The site is also available as an online tool. 

4) YOUTUBE

YouTube can be problematic if you have the tendency to watch one video before soon finding yourself 3 hours deep in funny animal vines. Believe me, we’ve all been there. However, YouTube can be a wonderful resource (or so I’ve found). I regularly turn to YouTube to gain a better understanding of difficult concepts which I struggle to understand from reading alone. I enjoy watching crash courses and other videos to expand on my knowledge, whilst writing down notes and searching for similar videos portraying the same message. Ie: This morning I watched multiple videos on animal imprinting because although I clearly understood the definition, I wanted to see it visually put into practice. 

MAINTAINING CONCENTRATION

Maintaining concentration can be difficult, I appreciate that everybody has busy lives and extremely loud minds. It can be troubling to focus on work when your thoughts lie elsewhere. I’ve had to train myself to be able to settle down and concentrate for long periods of time, I now find revision to be a good distraction for my mental health because it offers me a focus and keeps me motivated. I believe the key to maintaining concentration is keeping your mind both physically and mentally stimulated, which can be done by using new and different revision techniques. I also believe taking breaks is necessary, as mentioned above, they help to keep your mind focused and assist with breaking down reading and note taking material. 

BOOKS AND ARTICLES

I find books and articles incredibly helpful when it comes to revision, and just for enjoyment. I find them particularly creditable when it comes to searching for examples and associating them with topics I’ve covered previously. For example, I covered content on Economic Decisions in animals and I wanted to expand on my knowledge. A simple Google Scholar search lead me to an example in which parrots were experimented with to highlight how they make Economic Decisions based on tools, a thoroughly insightful read. Books are useful and help to increase the confidence you have in a range of subject areas. 

STUDYING WITH FRIENDS

Personally, I prefer working alone when it comes to revision. I love settling down in a quiet, reserved space and getting through my content at my own time. I need complete silence, similar to examination settings where the sound of a pin-drop would be distinguishable. I believe that working alongside friends would be too distracting for me, and I would get caught up in their work and possibly fall into comparison. Other students prefer having revision company to discuss topics and different views on things, I am the opposite and I embrace my individuality.

STAYING HYDRATED, PRIORITIZING EATING 

Perhaps this is in collaboration with my Eating Disorder, but my busy work schedule means I often forget to eat and I am prone to neglecting myself quickly and repeatedly in this way. This is an area I am still currently working hard to manage, but I recommend planning your revision around your eating schedule so the risk of missing meals is reduced and energy can be restored within the Brain. Taking snacks to the library (or wherever you’re working) may also be a beneficial idea too, as you can care for yourself in the comfort of your work-space. If eating is an issue for you, I recommend setting reminders on your phone to encourage you to eat, or speak to a friend/tutor you trust so they can help to assist you too. 

A QUIET, ORGANISED WORKSPACE

I once read that your work-space can affect both your mood and your productivity levels. Working in your bedroom can be challenging, as the Brain associates the room with sleeping/resting, so you may find it difficult to reach your full potential. Although, I do recommend having an organised ‘study board’ where you can place sticky notes with keywords and definitions, accompanied by exam timetables and helpful diagrams. (Among other things you find helpful!)

And most importantly, remember to relax and to take deep breaths. 

Good luck!

Florida: Day eight 🇺🇸

The Florida Files

The sun was gleaming down on what was set to be the hottest day we had encountered throughout the duration of the Florida trip.

I was still suffering the (often confusing) effects of jet lag gained from both a combination of travelling and a significant different in time zones between The US and The UK. (Five hours!) Fortunately for me, this meant I was awake and ready, prepared to watch the morning sunrise whilst sitting comfortably in the presence of a blue heron (Ardea herodias) a known visual hunter who then proceeded to loudly vocalise before rapidly fleeing the area.

We began driving to Barefoot Beach at 9:45am, excited to reunite with Jimmy to gain a deeper understanding about various shells, following Jimmy’s strong and most upmost passion – Beach-combing.

Beach combing is an activity that consists of an individual combing on the beach and on the intertidal zone, looking for things of value, interest or utility. 

Beach combing made an appearance in Herman Melville’s novel – Omoo, (translated as wanderer) which was published in 1947. A tale about enchanting adventures partaken in the Southern Seas.

Throughout the years, Jimmy had taken up the hobby and had soon become mesmerised by his unique and fascinating findings as he trailed the beach during various points of the day. Although, he joyously announced that he had a preference for early morning, when the beach was quiet and there seemed to be a greater amount of shells and other items for him to keenly collect.

Sea beans, originating from The Caribbean and South America, stand as one of Jimmy’s preferred species to collect amongst the beach. And the Ecuadorian current has started to bring them near the Gulf Of Mexico.

Sea beans are often referred to as drift seeds and can be defined as seeds and fruits that are carried to the ocean by freshwater streams and rivers to then drift within the ocean.

There are also sea hearts which come from the monkey ladder vine that grows in The Amazon Rainforest alongside the Columbus bean, also originating from The Amazon. Sea glass is also an incredible species, known as mermaids tears, which are small fragments of glass that have been washed up, giving them a frostier appearance.

The best known time for beach combing is during times with a low tide and a new moon, or following a storm.

Some species are known to become caught up in wrack lines, meaning they act like a natural packing material. The species are rare and valuable and are often used as currency, or Wompum (The Native term for money).

We then made our way to the beach for the duration of one hour, where we proceeded to scan our open surroundings for unique shells which we had the pleasure of identifying. Successfully, we collected a wide range of items, including corals, shells that resembled cat paws and horn shells.

Whenever we met Jimmy, I became increasingly more enkindled upon hearing stories about his passions and the facts he delivered about species and their fascinating histories.

Florida – Day seven: Part two 🇺🇸

The Florida Files

After the talk we received from Jerry, we were quickly divided into two groups after stepping outside to enable us to carry out two different activities throughout the refuge.

This allowed us to smoothly alternate between the activities we were occupying at the time.

I noticed various resources during my visit at the reserve, even amongst the beach, issuing advice and key information to the public about different issues – including plastic use and its impact on marine life, whilst encouraging people to avoid littering as a method of keeping beaches clean and protecting animals.

The first activity we engaged in was shell collecting to allow us to complete a dichotomous key. We went shell collecting along the secluded beach to enable us to create a factual dichotomous key with a sample size of ten shells per group (working in small groups of three). Dichotomous keys are often used in an assortment of species identifications typically amongst zoologists and biologists.

The shells differed in their size, shape and colour which could serve as indicators to enable us to easily distinguish them all (similar to those carried out in animal behaviour studies) Some shells gathered were small and pointed, whereas others were larger and more rounded.

During the shell collecting activity, we learned the seriousness of taking shells off the beach and the fact it can result in severe punishments in the eyes of the Law. Shells were not to be excluded from the beach as they were closely protected. But Jerry’s licence, aswell as his profession as an educator to people of all ages, enabled us to gain the permission to do so.

Dichotomous key: A tool that allows the user to determine the identity of items in the natural world.

Seine fishing: A method of fishing that employs a fishing net that hangs vertically in the water with its bottom edge held down by weights and its top edge buoyed by floats. 

We became involved in a method of fishing named Seine fishing, where four individuals of the group would stand in the sea with a gigantic net, allowing them to easily encircle a variety of fish species.

The net was then dragged to land, myself and the other students (including teenagers from a local high school) had the job of picking the fish up from out of the net and placing them into an assortment of grey coloured treys.

The process was speedy, as we wanted to limit the number of species’ deaths during the experiment as a result of them remaining out of water for too long.

We categorised the fish to allow us to discover the frequency of the fish we had entangled within the net, with the aims of detecting whether some species appeared to be more abundant in comparison to others.

Throughout the duration of the experiment, we unfortunately experienced a mass of fish moralities due to accompanying reasons such as stress and heat exposure. In scientific research, moralities are expected due to many underlying factors. And the remainder of the fish were luckily freed back into their natural, open environment after the research had been carried out and recorded.

Seine fishing can withstand both pros and cons: It’s an excellent method for catching schools of fish, though the method can quickly become unsustainable if the population of that species cannot withstand it.

Florida – Day seven: Part one 🇺🇸

The Florida Files

We arrived at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a non profitable organisation located in South-West Florida, at 8:15am. After an hours drive was required to reach our destination.

The Wildlife Refuge is located on Sanibel Island, in the Gulf of Mexico, Southwestern Florida and is compromised of 6400 acres.

We are a nonprofit that financially supports nature conservation, wildlife protection and education efforts for J.N “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel and Captiva Islands in Southwest Florida.

The refuge gained its name after a local cartoonist (Jay Norwood Ding Darling) who prevented the land from being sold which was due to be used for other purposes. The conservationists remained well known for the creation of his duck stamps, essential stamps that have to be purchased in order to enter the refuge.

Jerry (a current volunteer at Ding Darling) presented a factual powerpoint presentation giving an indication into the past and present history of The Wildlife Refuge. The talk was both authentic and inspiring and allowed us to consider the activities we could engage in to better our planet, and to occupy conservation efforts. Jerry also, mercifully, introduced us to his wife – Belinda, who was also a current volunteer at the refuge.

Jay Norwood Darling blocked the sale of the environmentally valuable land on Sanibel Island. Darling also convinced the President at the time (President Truman) to sign an executive order to create the Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge rewinding back to 1945. Moreover, the refuge changed the name to ‘JN Ding Darling’ in 1967.

Profits made at the refuge following visitor entrance fees and gift shop purchases, amongst generous public donations, is put towards conservation efforts that are carried out throughout the entirety of Ding Darling. Alas, the refuge alarmingly receives no Government funding, but works entirely to protect species and to encourage the next generations with their creditable efforts and high work ethics.

The Ding Darling Wildlife Society pays for essentials that The US Government fails to prioritise. The money is raised through various fundraising activities, aswell as through the visitor centre.

Carolina Parakeet: This species is the only species of parakeet that lives in The US. However, the species went extinct back in 1939, and the last known species tragically passed away in captivity (Simpsonati Zoo).

Passenger Pigeon: This species passed away in the same cage as the late Carolina Parakeet, though during the sooner date of 1914. Passenger pigeons are reliant on forests to aid their survival, but the species struggled to adapt to changing environmental conditions due to market hunting which wiped out the forests.

Moran and aesthetic nature preservation: John Muir is the President of the Sierra Club, who composed that ‘Nature deserves to exist for its own sake regardless of the degree of usefulness to humans’. The preservation exists and helped to establish The National Park Service in 1916.

Modern environmentalism: The industrial explosion occurring as a result of WW2 added new environmental concerns, which therefore allowed the Environmental Agenda to be expanded in both 1960 and 1970 to begin to include: Atomic weapons testing, fossil fuel issues, air and water pollution and wilderness protection.

The first National Earth Day began in the 1970’s as a result of an establishment of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

Global concerns have increased over time, due to an expansion of greater technology and communications alongside a better understanding surrounding different concepts and ideas, with previously little information available in relation to them. Environmental events and concerns are now reported Worldwide, therefore we gain an understanding into issues and improvements occurring around The World. The events also reported both locally and regionally.

Environmental issues include: Climate change, energy, biodiversity, human rights, agriculture/food, population, water and consumerism.

The refuge allows visitors to view a vast selection of animals in their natural environment, including 245 bird species which occupy a larger diversity throughout migratory seasons (January-April).

We walked around the refuge, witnessing charismatic red mangroves which gain their distinctive redness due to a lack of oxygen. The mangroves appeared to be home to bird species, including the white ibis perching upon a mangrove branch.

A normal, unharmed, manatee bone typically weighs roughly 2lbs, but with damage, the bone’s weight suffers an increase of a dangerous 6lbs.

We read the tragic story of a glorious manatee named J.Mullett, who became known during her first sighting on March 11th, 1996, whilst understanding the causes of her unfortunate mortality. Mullett first became sighted in Crystal River, FL and was easily identifiable because of the healing wound located behind her head, amongst significant propeller wounds from her mid-tail to tail base.

She also had a pit tag fitted beneath her skin to help locate and identify her.

The case of J.Mullett: Named J as she was found in the month of January, and Mullett, as the location she was found in had the name of ‘Mullett’s Gullett’.

The manatee was released back into the wild (Crystal River) on December 5th 2000, after 2 years of seeking rehabilitation (starting January 2nd 1999) at Lowry Park Zoo for her noted injuries.

Mullett suffered abnormal signs of breakage in her ribs, therefore developing an abnormal growth following an impact with a boat. (Air boats are popularly used throughout The Everglades, despite not being very environmentally or wildlife friendly, to encompass a range of species).

Manatees often appear in areas of human activity, which have big associations with the numbers of declining manatee in The World, often becoming injured from boat propellers, which can cause swelling in the muscles surrounding the tailbone, which negatively impacts the manatees abilities to swim efficiently, and without difficulties.

A necropsy case file revealed the avoidable causes of Mullett’s death. She received multiple strikes from passing by boats in the area she was inhabiting, which caused abnormal bone growth in both her ribs and her skeleton. The findings also informed us that a discarded fishing line was found located in her small intestine and colon, again, highlighting the human impacts upon marine life. The fishing line caused multiple injuries, including internal damage and the blockage of her intestines, which fabricated eating, digesting and defecating difficulties.

Devastatingly, Mullett had given birth to her calf and was said to be nursing her just 6 days before she gruesomely died.

How did J.Mullett die?

  • Watercraft: Collision with hull and/or propeller or any type of watercraft.
  • Crushed/drowned in a floodgate or a canal lock.
  • Perinatal: Death of a newborn manatee less than 5 feet long.
  • Death due to cold weather exposure.
  • Other natural causes: Infection, disease, birth complications, natural accidents or natural events (such as red tide poisoning).
  • Unfortunately, the causes of death have had no success in being determined.

Florida – Day Six 🇺🇸

The Florida Files, University

Florida Golf Coast University partners with my University in The UK. (Bangor University). Today, we visited and had a tour of their mesmerising campus, which seemed to be a completely different world to the small Welsh town we were all accustomed to.

Arriving at approximately 9am, we were all soon astounded when we viewed the university. Filled with restaurants, tall colourful buildings, home to alligators and with a gym placed on each floor in the halls of residence, it really was a step away from little Bangor!

And I imagine the campus itself was larger than Bangor as a whole!

Two lovely guides (Katie and Rachel) who were current students at the university kindly guided us around the campus, filling our minds with facts about the university and in depth details about courses and student life. Fun fact: The medical campus has a realistic “doll” that gives birth to up to three babies at a time, and it can go off randomly, which gives the students a random and valuable practicing experience, enabling them to learn to deal with given scenarios, as they head towards their chosen careers.

It sounded extremely appealing. I particularly liked and respected the sustainability efforts FGCU engaged in, including food forests and the appliance of solar panels around campus. It’s always inspiring to see Universities encouraging students and staff to engage in more sustainable, better for the planet, changes.

Soon after our typical, tourist-y group photo, we headed up to floor four for a talk from a student, and his work on sword-tail fishes. This lasted for around an hour, as we sat comfortably in reclinable chairs in the most hi-tech computer lab. The talk was interesting and went into in-depth detail about molecular ecology and prey identification, alongside thrilling information about the sword tail species. Admittedly, not my favoured study areas, but an interesting talk all the same.

The afternoon had arisen, it was time for an adventurous swamp walk outside the university campus, which I loved taking part in! (Even if my Lecturer did threaten to drag me in when he almost fell…) And, with wet shoes at the ready, we were soon knee deep in water, surrounded with nature, whilst climbing freely over logs and clinging onto branches and leaves for trustworthy purposes with the *peaceful* sounds of students screaming as they attempted to avoid falling face flat in the murky swamp.

Of course, being Zoologists always up for an adventure and a new challenge, we followed our lecturer who remained enthusiastic to lead us down the pathway clearly labelled “NOT A TRAIL”, which I believe only added to the enjoyment and happy memories formed that day.

After an incredible time wading through the swamp, occupying a range of new bruises and insect bites throughout, we quickly dried ourselves off on the crisp green grass and headed to a nearby shopping mall.

Throughout the short journey, I attempted to remove a collaboration of twigs tucked neatly in my hair. A swamp memorabilia?

We firstly headed into a shop (which I apologetically forgot the name of) which sold a vast range of interesting outdoor items. From walking gear and tents, to guns!!

Of course, guns are legal in The US, but the experience of seeing them closely for a first time was a surreal experience. Guns of all sizes and colours (even pink!) I was personally unaware of how available guns were to the public, so it was reassuring to know that checks on individuals are vitally carried out before purchase. Though, worrying all the same…

After a wander around the first shop, we then headed into a surfers shop which was incredible and had a beautiful range of clothing items and accessories available, for both males and females. I purchased a stunning, colourful tie-dye t-shirt in aid of turtle conservation, with profits going towards helping the endangered species.

Interestingly, we strolled through the surf shop until we reached the exit, soon finding ourselves back outdoors in the blazing heat, surrounded with stunning views and the oddly silent surroundings.

In the not-so-far distance, a puppy shop was facing us, which I (prior to stepping inside) believed to be a common pet shop. However, I soon came to the realisation that this was in fact a puppy farm in disguise after noticing distressed puppies for sale inside, some overly crowded in enclosures whilst others were going mentally insane from the lack of company, alongside both physical and mental stimulation.

And, heartbreakingly, all puppies were away from their mothers, with very few toys to play with. We stayed for a little while, stoking the puppies (they weren’t allowed to be held) and issuing them with entertainment and love.

Again, with puppy farms leading such a huge controversy in The UK, it was baffling to encounter one in a different country which appeared to be completely normalised. It made me wonder about differences in animal rights and welfare across the globe, why some of us were campaigning for places similar to be abolished, whereas others evidently had no issues with them.