Animal training programs play a valuable role by providing animals with choices and mental challenges. There are an abundance of training programs established at both Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo for all types of animals including gorillas, giraffes, otters, parrots, jaguars, and even the goats. Training through positive reinforcement and operant conditioning, allows the animals to voluntarily participate in activities that challenge them to think and learn new things in exchange for a favorite treat.
Here at Zoo New England, we practice protected contact with our animals. For the keeper's safety, a protective barrier separates the keeper from most animals at all times.
The animals are trained not only in husbandry behaviors that assist the keepers in daily care, but also in medical behaviors to help our hospital staff with veterinary care.
For example, the lion pictured below was trained to lie down and present his tail to the keepers so that blood could be drawn for a routine health check. Accomplishments like this are significant because it allows the animals to be examined without having to sedate them, which can be stressful and sometimes even dangerous.
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