Industries & Professions /
Wrangling an iguana for a movie production; preparing the diet for a zoo's new albino alligator; comforting bison to keep them from committing "suicide"; training cats for an animal-assisted therapy program at a nursing home. All these responsibilities, strange as they may seem, actually exist for some animal trainers. Many western states have long telephone book listings of animal handlers who rent out trained iguanas, horses, cougars, cattle, and other animals for movie productions. Zoos and marine animal parks hire highly trained keepers to feed, shelter, and protect some of the most exotic animals in the world. Bison, if not properly prepared for transport, can easily be provoked to stampede, sometimes killing themselves. And even cats are therapists these days, as people introduce their pets to elderly and ill patients who respond well to interaction with animals.