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Tuesday, November 22

Reader, have you heard the news? It’s the most wonderful time of the year! With Thanksgiving just days away and a smattering of winter holidays following soon, I’m led to believe the songs are true. We’ve been kicking off the celebrations a little early with some extra enrichment time in the orangutan building. So while I have the chance, I’d like to take some time to tell you about some of the things I’m thankful for this year:

I’m thankful for Benny, whose dancing always makes my closing routine a little more fun.

I’m thankful for Blaze, who is always willing to offer a little sass when I need to be taken down a peg.

I’m thankful for Pongo, who is always ready for a game of chase.

I’m thankful for Biji, who keeps her nighthouse incredibly clean by doing her “business” in the drain, away from the fresh bedding.

I’m thankful for Chantek, who enjoys watching cat videos as much as the rest of us.

I’m thankful for Madu, whose work as a foster mom benefits orangutans everywhere.

I’m thankful for Dumadi, who always makes me laugh, even when he’s getting into trouble.

I’m thankful for Remy, who gets a little braver everyday.

I’m thankful for Keju, whose curiosity turns every enrichment item into an adventure.

I’m thankful for Satu, who loves training every bit as much as I do.

I’m thankful for Miri, who always reminds me when it’s meal time, just in case I forgot or something.

I’m thankful for Pelari, who is, without a doubt, the cutest orangutan on the face of the earth.

Pelari photo

Lastly, for many zookeepers, pursuing our dream means moving far away from the people we care about. Speaking as a California native living in Georgia, I’ll admit, the holidays can be a difficult time. So, most importantly, I’m thankful for my fellow primate keepers, who have been my second family in the times I’ve needed them.

Reader, I hope your holidays are happy, no matter which ones you might be celebrating. I hope we can all take an extra moment to be kind to one another as we celebrate. Because good isn’t something you are, it’s something you do.
Mike Marazzi
Keeper I, Primates

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl