Episode 16

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Biologist Suzanne Akerman


May 21st, 2018

1 hr 17 secs

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About this Episode

One this episode they guys are joined with Suzanne Akerman. Suzanne spends her days sharing her passion for animals with visitors at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium where she works as a staff biologist for the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater. When she is not performing in shows or scooping poop, Suzanne is chair of Drinking for Conservation, a committee dedicated to conserving wildlife through fun social gatherings. Her hobbies include reading, solving crossword puzzles, trivia, dancing, and occasional modeling. Suzanne holds a B.A in English and an M.A. in Education from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, and will earn her M.A. in Biology from Miami University in December of 2018.

The show kicks off with conversation on how Suzanne and Justin met through karaoke in an apartment complex where they section off studio rooms to use for private karaoke rooms. Susanne then dives into her career as a Staff Biologist at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium and how she got started with them as a volunteer in 2002. She talks about doing stage shows at the zoo and what made her decide to study zoology.

15:49 – Suzanne talks about exotic animal trade, the zoo recommending that people don’t buy exotic animals, and how breeders of cats and dogs at times make people write essays before they allow them to buy their new pet. She verifies that ligers are real animals and the genetic problems that come up with breeding them. She mentions that good organizations and zoos don’t promote ligers because they want to focus their efforts on breeding animals that need to be reproduced.

26:35 – Suzanne covers the American Association of Zoo Keepers and the Point Defiance AAZK chapter that holds monthly Drinking for Conservation events. She explains that all of the funds raised at each event are donated to the organization that supports the endangered species they are highlighting that month. She explains where people that would like to attend can find them on Facebook. Talk then turns to otters and how their cute, cuddly, playful, act is just a just a front.

44:24 – Suzanne tells the guys about Northwest Trek, her internship there and her 7 hour interview that got her the internship on the spot. She covers Point Defiance building their new aquarium that will open at the end of the summer and people being able to attend the zoo during their renovation. They also cover the opening of Wild Wonders at the zoo, opened May 12th runs all summer long.

The show comes to an end with discussion over Sasquatch and invasive species in Florida including snakes, monkeys, and gutter gators. Thanks Suzanne for joining the guys for an insightful look at what it’s like to be a staff biologist!!

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