Monday, November 21, 2005

Zookeepers Go Ape Over Dear Abby Column

SAN DIEGO (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – Zookeepers are buzzing about a Dear Abby column that details how parents make up facts about animals when they don’t know the truth.

Nicki Boyd, a 13-year veteran animal care supervisor at the San Diego Zoo, often hears parents pulling facts out of their ocelot.

One of the biggest errors Boyd overhears is koalas referred to as bears when they’re really marsupials.

Also, a lot of kids and adults think that small animals in a children’s zoo must be babies, which is not always the case.

When Boyd overhears mistaken parents calling the binturong a bear, she tries to turn their mistake into something positive by letting them know the cat-like creature is a civet, and it happens to be nicknamed a “bearcat” because it looks like a bear and a cat.

Boyd figures if parents make up answers to kids’ questions they may do it because they underestimate the intelligence of children and think they won’t remember anyway.

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