Continuing to investigate, I found that the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) offered professional training courses. Two courses stood out as particularly pertinent: Animal Training Applications hosted by Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, FL and Managing Animal Enrichment hosted by the Houston Zoo in Houston, Texas.
I knew that being accepted to either of these courses would be a long shot as the training programs are always filled immediately. Additionally, priority is given to AZA members while international applicants such as myself are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Undeterred, I applied. I submitted my twenty year background of successfully saving, rehabilitating, releasing and caring for over forty-five different species of birds, mammals and sea turtles. I also spoke of my goal to share my new learned skills with other centers in Costa Rica.
I was accepted!