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Brianna Dannehl Talks about Her Wild Experience at Zoo Atlanta

Sometimes internships feel a little like a zoo. However, Brianna Dannehl spent her summer experience at a literal zoo while she learned the ropes of wildlife conservation.

As a Natural Resource Ecology & Management sophomore, Brianna has been interning in the Ambassador Animals Department at Zoo Atlanta for her Ogden summer. Her department is centered around guest interaction through their shows and animal encounters.

The goal is that, through direct interaction, guests will be able to learn more about animals and what they can do to assist in wildlife conservation.


“As an intern, I do a lot of husbandry work, which is essentially cleaning, but I’m not complaining!” Dannehl said. “I also get to do a lot of really fun stuff! I am trained on encounters with one of our Milky Eagle owls, Mandela.”

What does training a Milky Eagle owl look like? According to Dannehl, it entails her knowing how to properly secure him to her glove and being able to answer questions about the species.

“I love the direct interaction with guests and being able to hang out with Mandela!” she said. “I also assist in our shows doing things ‘behind the scenes.’”


Recently, Dannehl wrote and published a Keeper Blog on the zoo’s website about how zoos focus on conservation.

“Every day is different because working with animals is always unpredictable, and I love that,” Dannehl added. “With only two weeks left, I am immensely sad to leave the zoo, but I am excited to return to Baton Rouge.”