Esther Langan impressed all during her interview for the position of Museum Specialist in the Division of Mammals, as related by Mammals Collections Manager Darrin Lunde:
Would you describe an experience from your past that best illustrates your abilities to capture wild animals in the field?
Langan: Well….I used to wrangle alligators in central Florida. We’d lasso them from my airboat and then haul them up onboard. This was for an ecological study I was involved with. The eight-footers were tricky, but once you get their mouths taped shut you can control them more safely.
Glancing up at her I wondered to myself; how the heck did she do that? The only crocodilian I ever handled was half that size and it nearly maimed me. A quick follow-up question was in order:
OK, but do you have any experience working with mammals?
Langan: Sure, I netted bats in Costa Rica for a couple of months, but most of the mammals I’ve worked with were already dead.
Esther Langan is just the person we are looking for; that is what Kris Helgen, Charlie Potter, Christina Gebhard and I agreed on when we finished our interview that day. And if we had any doubts about her actually wanting the job, they were dashed when she described the Smithsonian’s Division of Mammals as “top of pile.”
Esther is by all accounts a dedicated and conscientious worker who is particularly well-regarded by the staff at MSC, where she spent time over the course of the last several years organizing the National Zoo’s fluid tissue collection (the zoo had “rented” storage space in pod 5). The many positive reviews Esther received from her colleagues at MSC further substantiated what we could all see in her interview.
As an added bonus, Esther is also fluent in Spanish and is purported to have a great sense of humor. She started work on Monday, September 24thand we are very happy to have her in the Division of Mammals.