updated 07/30/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 07/30/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Carla Skinder, 27, is having a whale of a time as animal technologist at Boston's New England Aquarium. Head of the Marine Mammal Stranding Program, Carla rushes to the rescue of beached seals and dolphins as well as 40-ton whales that wash up anywhere in New England. "It's awesome working with creatures that are so enormous and unknown," says Carla, who fields emergency calls 24 hours a day. At the aquarium she tube-fed an emaciated baby sperm whale and got into a wet suit to acclimate 10 dangerous sharks. Her most "ticklish" job: removing postoperative stitches from Morris, a moray eel. The first female on the curatorial staff, Skinder believes "women are warmer and just have a better rapport with animals." Carla certainly seems to. After growing up in Natick, Mass., she took pre-vet courses at Kansas State University. Now living in South Hamilton, Mass., she rides horses at 6:30 a.m. and in Boston (right) shares time off with Lover, one of her charges. Last year when she flew to New York for a marine exhibit, the penguin was her date for the evening. "Of course," she says, "he was formally dressed."