Alligators, kangaroos and opossums—oh my! The Wildlife Defenders have become well-loved guests at the RMSC with their engaging live animal shows and we’re excited to announce that you’ll be seeing even more of them in 2017. Almost every Saturday this year, you’ll see them on our schedule at 12:30 and 2:30pm.
The Wildlife Defenders animal education team is part of Bridges for Brain Injury, Inc, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the traumatic effects of brain injury and to supporting the individuals and families affected by it.
To learn more about this incredible organization and find out what we can look forward to this year, we sat down with John Truini, Day and Wildlife Education Programs Director.
John, we’ve seen the Wildlife Defenders team bring so many incredible animals to the RMSC. Do you have any favorites?
My favorite is an incredible animal that lives amongst us right here in New York State— "Ginny" the Virginia Opossum. It's so misunderstood and underappreciated as North America's only marsupial. It can give birth to up to twelve young that fit in a teaspoon, has a prehensile tail that acts like fifth limb and opposable thumbs on its rear feet. So, it has "hands" for feet and "feet" for hands. This animal is also among the mammals the most teeth with a screaming 52 teeth! Can you imagine that dentist bill?
What animals can Rochester look forward to seeing this coming year? Will any new animals be joining your program in 2017?
It's hard to predict what new members we will be adding to our family because so many of them are rescued! Like Trooper the Coyote and Phyllis Quiller the Porcupine.
Sadly, Trooper's mother died giving birth to nine pups and Phyllis's mother was shot.
Why do you think it’s important for people to meet your education animals up close?
There is something special about seeing one of these incredible, well-trained animal ambassadors up close and personal. You learn to have a greater appreciation for them when seeing them "eye to eye." You can see the color of their eyes, how they breath, the true texture of their fur and yes sometimes you can even smell them! Such is the case with our Cusimanse or Dwarf Mongoose—One of the only tame specimens on the East Coast.