Animal Behaviorist Joins National Zoo

Article excerpt

Byline: Bryce Baschuk, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Erika Bauer likes to be where the wild things are. Last month, the 31-year-old animal behaviorist joined the Smithsonian's National Zoo as a curatorial resident.

"This was the opportunity that I was waiting for, and I am so happy to get this training experience," Miss Bauer said.

As the National Zoo's first curatorial resident dealing specifically in animal care, Miss Bauer will spend the next two years conducting animal research and learning how a zoo is run.

"We're giving Erika some real experience with the animal collections, and she will be focused on the day-to-day workings of a curator," said Don Moore, the zoo's associate director for animal care.

Mr. Moore said he was confident in Miss Bauer's abilities and looked forward to working with her at the zoo.

"She's already done this before, and she understands that her work with animal behavior can make their lives better," he said.

Miss Bauer began working with animals in high school. She volunteered at an animal shelter in her hometown of Pittsburgh.

"In college I took a chimpanzee research course with a great professor, and I got hooked," Miss Bauer said. She received a bachelor's degree in biology in 1997 from John Carroll University in Cleveland.

During her residency, Miss Bauer will learn how to keep the National Zoo running, balance its budget, design exhibits and organize transportation for animals.

"Right now I spend a lot of my time shadowing keepers and looking at enrichment strategies to see it they are affecting the animals' social behavior," Miss Bauer said. …