Animal Training Programs and Improvements in Husbandry
Positive relations - benefits of employing a full-time animal trainer
Animal training plays an important role within a zoo collection in both the day to day husbandry and the veterinary management of the species involved. Twycross Zoo employed a full time animal training manager to facilitate the implementation of a zoo wide training programme. Keepers were trained to use positive reinforcement training methods and training plans were developed for each species, particularly focusing on target training, scale training and presentation of body areas for veterinary assessment. Since the employment of the training manager, over 85% of the animal keeping staff are now involved in the training of over 200 individual animals. Key achievements include the hand injection of chimpanzees and orang utans for health checks and enclosure moves, the voluntary hand-over of a rejected bonobo neonate, conscious blood sampling of tapirs and syringe-feeding of a sick neonate spider monkey. The implementation of the training programme, under the supervision of the training manager, has not only helped to improve animal husbandry and veterinary management, but has empowered keepers to develop new skills and contribute significantly to an improvement in the welfare of a broad range of species.
COMMENDATION received in BIAZA Awards 2012 for Significant Advances in Husbandry and Welfare