On October 14, Manassas Honors BIO 101 students took a field trip to the Washington National Zoo with Professor Gunjan Sharma. They discussed biodiversity and also conservation programs at the zoo. Students also learned about the zoo’s participation in breeding cooperative programs to manage genetically and demographically small populations.
During the visit students looked for the cat exhibits. Lions, tigers, pumas and many other species belong to the same original cat family (Felidae). In fact, they were surprised to learn that many of the different species of wild cats can still be crossbred to produce offspring. Completing this task, they looked for Canidae (the dog family) which includes wolves, coyotes, and foxes and then for Equidae (the horse family) which includes zebras and donkeys. As they strolled around the zoo paths, they also looked inside the Reptile House and were amused by the Komodo dragon. They also visited the primate house to see the chimpanzees and orangutans. Overall, it was a wonderful experience for the Honors students.