Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies
Degree: Animal Care
Year of graduation: 2007
You could say that working with animals is in Chelsea Roberts’ genes. She can trace back 150 years of family history in the zoological field – her father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all zookeepers in the U.K., and her formative years were spent in an animal-filled household in Hamilton, Ontario.
Chelsea is doing that legacy proud in her current role as Associate Director Veterinary Services at Atlantis, Bahamas. She works mainly with the Atlantis Animal Rescue Team, the only Wildlife Rescue in the Bahamas. “Rescue, rehabilitate, and release – that’s where my passion lies,” says Chelsea, who graduated from Sheridan’s Animal Care program in 2007. “Over my first year here (2015) we have rescued all sorts of animals, from avian, reptiles, and marine mammals.”
Among the most exciting of these rescues involved a manatee entangled in a fishing line in the neighbouring island called Spanish Wells, Eleuthera in February 2016, Chelsea says.
“Our team of six corralled mother and calf to safe area where we were able to net out both mammals briefly so we can tend to the calf's flipper. The disentanglement was successful, the calf was treated for wounds on her flipper, the mother was tagged with a GPS, and both were released.” Read about the rescue in the Bahamas Weekly
Chelsea also recalls the release of a tundra peregrine falcon, as well as numerous sea turtles as part of her team’s successful breeding and release program.
Chelsea travelled to the Caribbean from B.C. where she worked with the Wildlife Rescue Association as a Head Veterinary Technician, and part-time as a Marine Mammal Rehabilitator at The Vancouver Aquarium. The move south has brought with it a unique but welcome set of circumstances, says Chelsea. “I went from colder waters to warmer waters, so the sea life is much different here and more vibrant in colour.” Adapting to the heat is a particular challenge, she adds. “When performing necropsies on the deceased beached marine life, you have to grab your samples quickly before the heat, flies, and stench take you in.”
But the registered Animal Health Technologist and Animal Care Specialist is enjoying life on the small island which is surrounded by plenty of reefs and sea life. “There are amazing opportunities everywhere! I love what I do; Every time I help out an animal, it’s a success story.”
Learn more about Sheridan’s Animal Care program.