Zoo Internship Prepares Student for Anthropology Career

Senior Savannah Compton left her fall internship at ZooTampa with a newfound love for the study of animal behavior. Working in both the primate and commissary department of the Zoo, Compton spent her time designing enrichment projects and learning about animal nutrition, stoking her passion for animal behavior and science.

Compton pursued her goal of becoming an archaeologist by studying anthropology with minors in biological anthropology and archeology. It wasn’t until she took her primatology course she realized that studying archeology could also be combined with animal science.

“The course I took in primatology really helped prepare me for this internship,” said Compton. “During my time at ZooTampa I worked with Colobus, Siamang and even Patas monkeys. The course familiarized me many of these different breeds.”

One of Compton’s assignments at ZooTampa was creating an enrichment project used to observe the primate in subject in a fixed setting. Using a variety of tree and leaf clippings, Compton created a den for the mandrills to determine what types of foliage they prefer.

“We found through my project that the Mandrills at our zoo loved bamboo and willow. It was so exciting seeing them freak out over the den I built them out of that. All of the different readings and assignments that I’ve done in my anthropology classes helped inspire my enrichment project. I am very grateful for the professors at UCF,” said Compton.

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