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Category — Cat Canyon

Training Update

Sifaka

Wilhelmina, Rinaldo, and their baby Bobbie continue to impress people with their movement and jumps.  This trio is by far the leader of cuteness in our zoo!  Their keepers, Matt and Stephanie and myself continue to work with them Fri, Sat and Sun at 2:30, allowing our guests an up close and personal look at this incredible species.  The trio will go outside when it gets a little warmer!

Training sifaka in Jungle Trails

Training sifaka in Jungle Trails

Polar Bear

Berit, the female polar bear that we trained to accept injections, is now learning to present other areas of her body and to lay down.  She has been such a wonderful animal to work with.  She is so responsive and it’s really neat to watch her thought process as she works out each problem and tries so hard to please. Watching her keepers work with her so closely and seeing their relationship with her grow in such a positive direction has been especially fulfilling.

We are still waiting (and waiting and waiting) to find out if she is pregnant or not.  We should know in the next week or two.  Lets all keep our fingers crossed!!! [Read more →]

April 4, 2013   1 Comment

Listening To Our Animals

cougar_exhibit

With Joseph in the cougar exhibit.

As an animal trainer or even a pet owner the most important thing you can do with your animal is to listen to them. I don’t mean physically having the ability to listen to them, but rather your willingness to sit, watch, and listen. In my blog post last week it was very clear that listening to an animal I work with can be imperative – it can save your life. Like listening to Makine, my rehab Java Macaque. The keepers and staff at the Cincinnati Zoo also listen to and know their animals. A clear example of keepers knowing their animals and listening to them is found in the story of the design of the Zoo’s cougar exhibit.

joe_cougar

Joseph as a cub.

When I was helping to raise the cougars, “Joseph” and “Tecumseh,” we had a strict schedule of exercise, enrichment, training, and play. Each day we would go for multiple walks, exercise them in the Cheetah Encounter yard, play with them, and even nap with them. We had to build a very strong bond with these animals so they could be transferred to their new enclosure and feel safe and secure. The only way to do this was to spend the time with them so even if they were worried they would trust their trainers and look to them for guidance. We wanted them to know if we weren’t worried about something, they didn’t need to be either. The only way to get that response and trust from them was to spend every day, all day, with them. Rough job, I know. [Read more →]

March 22, 2013   No Comments

Cat Canyon Finishing Touches

Just six more days until Cat Canyon opens! Zoo Members will get a sneak preview on Members Night this Friday. The exhibit is looking great, and the cats have been out exploring their new yards. Now that the structures are in place and the landscaping is pretty much finished, Graphics has begun installing the signage. We’re also finalizing the soundtrack and tweaking the sound levels. Listen for tiger roars, tokay gecko calls, and gibbon songs.

June 25, 2012   1 Comment