Photos from special trip to SeaWorld San Diego, CA

SFgeckos

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I recently had the privilege and pleasure of getting a "special" tour not open to the public. I had a great discussion with the head veterinarian on marine mammal reproductive physiology, and also gained valuable insight and knowledge on training/husbandry from the head trainers/keepers. It was a once in a life time experience...

Enjoy the photos!

Jon
 
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SFgeckos

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Physical exams...venipuncture...The pilot whales are about 3,000lbs!
 
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SFgeckos

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Baby seals...touching bat rays...and about 300+ penguins in the exhibit
 
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gitrdone0420

Gotta catch 'em all!
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So not fair! lol, how did you get this special tour?
I was really considering becoming a marine veterinarian. It sounded like lots of fun.
Great pictures, Im glad you had fun! =]
 

SFgeckos

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Radiographs...cuttlefish and polar bear (I never want to be this close ever again!)
 
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SFgeckos

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Amazing laboratory and 80+ baby endangered green turtles (Chelonia mydas)!! Although the topic of their release is very controversial since they were born in captivity...and will try to return to their hatching site to lay eggs...except they can't climb the fence, get past the parking lot and pay the entrance fee at the park =)...
 
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JordanAng420

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I'M JEALOUS AS HECK! That is so super cool. Where are the tail veins in the pilot whale? And those xrays are really awesome. The beauty of digital radiographs nowadays...lol
 

SFgeckos

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I got the special tour because I knew special people...and perhaps I'm special =)

The venipuncture on the pilot whale was done on the tail fluke vein, in the same region where the trainer told me to "feel" for the tail fluke vein in the dolphin.
 

SFgeckos

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The most interesting discussion I had was about evaluation of hormones to determine when female dolphins were "ready". The lab uses urine collection (imagine collecting urine from a dolphin! But they are trained and can expel on command!) and has an in-house machine for progesterone and estrogen values. This is similar to work done on land mammalian species, such as endangered species or difficult to breed mammals like the Giant Panda. Since hormones "pool" in the body over night, morning feces are collected and hormone values are analyzed. Perhaps, one day in the future we will be able to collect gecko feces and determine exactly where they are in their estrus cycle by analyzing their progesterone and estrogen levels...well at least, I can still dream =)
 

robin

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jon those are amazing! great photos and a once in a life time experience (unless you do this everyday lol)

awesome!
 

Enigmatic_Reptiles

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Thats so awesome. We go to sea world at least once a month...same with San Diego Zoo. You must know some very handy people to know. Thats something you will never forget, Im so jealous
 

SFgeckos

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Thanks everyone for the kind comments! If I find regular time, perhaps I should start posting more photos from various trips. I actually travel all over the place and get to "play" with many amazing animals because I know special people. =)

Jon
 

herpman97

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I remember when I went to Seaworld in San Diego. In Spring Break 2005. I was seven, and now I'm 12.
San Diego, California was the best vacation EVER!!! I also went to Disneyland, Tijuana Mexico, city life, San Francisco and the San Diego Zoo!!!!! I loved California, but I dont remember 1/16 of it, because I was in the 2nd Grade. Plus I live on the East coast in Virginia, so that sucks.....
 
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