"History in the Making: The Future of Behavior Management and Its Role In Conservation"
Quick Links for Conference Information
Congratulations to Becky Wolf of the San Diego Zoo. Her paper, "Utilizing Training to Determine the Energetic Cost of Polar Bear Behaviors at the San Diego Zoo", is the 2018 BMF Scholarship winner.
Did you know that ABMA's Behavior Management Fund (BMF) committee has a travel scholarship available for one lucky member at each of our annual conferences? Abstract deadline for the BMF Travel Scholarship has passed. Please submit the complete BMF Travel Scholarship application package to be considered.
This scholarship is to assist an ABMA member whose institution is unable to give them financial support. The Travel Scholarship will help the award recipient by giving them the ability to present their work and it will help the organization by giving ABMA members the opportunity to hear presentations that the membership otherwise would not have the opportunity to hear and as such, the Travel Scholarship supports the ABMA Core Value of “Sharing the Knowledge.”
The scholarship will provide:
• Transportation: Up to $500.00 reimbursed at Conference with receipt of purchased ticket or based on government per diem if driving, verification of mileage is required.
• Hotel room for the entire conference.
• Conference registration fee (including site visits, the banquet, and any meals included with registration).
*Airport to hotel transportation and meals on your own will not be provided.
• Applicant must be an ABMA member in good standing. ABMA membership must be valid through the dates of the conference for the given Travel Scholarship Award year.
• Applicant may not have received this scholarship in the previous year.
• Applicant must submit the complete application form including required signature and abstract by the deadline and if selected, be able to present at the conference. Incomplete submissions will not be considered. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure application materials are complete; applicants will not be notified if the application materials are incomplete.
There are 3 required components of the BMF Travel Scholarship application:
1. BMF Application
2. Abstract Submission Form. The complete abstract submission form (both pages) must be included with the application for consideration.
3. Travel Scholarship winner must officially accept the award within one week of email notification, otherwise the award will be offered to the runner-up.
The abstract submission deadline for the 2018 annual conference has passed.
Abstract review will be based on quality of the abstract, content and subject matter of the paper, application of the ABMA mission statement, and incorporation of the theme of the conference. Please keep in mind that we receive a number of quality submissions each year, and not all abstracts can necessarily be accepted for presentation. When your abstract is accepted for either a poster or presentation you are required to submit a paper for the conference proceedings prior to presenting. This submission deadline is one week before the conference- 1 April 2018. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Conference Content Advisory Committee Co-Chair, Antonio Ramirez, at email@example.com or the 2018 Vice President, Missy Lamar, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Presentations are 20 minutes total. Presenters should plan for a few minutes of questions afterwards (e.g. 17 minute presentation, 3 minutes for questions). It is encouraged to be available for questions throughout the remainder of the week. Poster presenters are required to stand by their posters on poster night and discuss their poster with conference attendees. Posters will be viewable during the entire conference so please be prepared to turn in your poster at registration so it can be set up the next day. If poster night is held off site, ABMA will transport and set up your poster but you are responsible for it after poster night concludes.
Detailed timeline for 2018 Abstract Submissions:
January 5th- abstracts due
January 15th- NEW abstract deadline due to natural disasters
February 9th- notifications to presenters
February 16th- presenters accept/decline
April 1st- papers due for proceedings
ABMA Conference Registration Form_2018. Please use this form if you prefer to pay by check or if you are an AAZK or IMATA member. If you're an AAZK or IMATA member you can receive the ABMA member rate until 23 March 2018.
Weekly Registration Pricing:
Weekly registrations are for the week of 8-13 April 2018. The evening of the 8th is our icebreaker. The evening of the 13th is our banquet. The icebreaker and the banquet are included in the cost of your weekly registration- do not purchase these from the a la carte menu unless you plan to have an extra person attend for that event only. There will be no weekly registrations the week before the conference to allow us time to compile accurate numbers to the hotel.
Member Early registration $335. This rate ends 4 March at 11:59pm; rates will increase on 5 March. Starting 2 April no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 8 April.
Member Early registration AND Hose2Habitat Workshop $385. This rate ends 4 March at 11:59pm; rates will increase on 5 March. Starting 2 April no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 8 April.
Non-Member Early registration $410. This rate ends 4 March at 11:59pm; rates will increase on 5 March. Starting 2 April no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 8 April.
Non-Member Early registration AND Hose2Habitat Workshop $460. This rate ends 4 March at 11:59pm; rates will increase on 5 March. Starting 2 April no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 8 April.
Member Full registration $385. This rate will start 5 March and end on 1 April at 11:59pm. Starting 2 April no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 8 April.
Member Full registration AND Hose2Habitat Workshop is SOLD OUT.
Non-Member Full registration $460. This rate will start 5 March and end on 1 April at 11:59pm. Starting 2 April no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 8 April.
Non-Member Full registration AND Hose2Habitat Workshop $510. This rate will start 5 March and end on 1 April at 11:59pm. Starting 2 April no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 8 April.
Member On-site registration $450.
Non-member On-site registration $500.
Daily Registration Pricing:
Daily registrations are for Monday, Wednesday, or Friday during the week of 9-13 April. The icebreaker on the evening of the 8th and the banquet on the evening of the 13th are extra- see A La Carte pricing below.
Member Daily Early registration $95. This rate ends 4 March at 11:59pm; rates will increase on 5 March. Starting 2 April no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 8 April.
Member Daily Early registration AND Hose2Habitat Workshop $145. This rate ends 4 March at 11:59pm; rates will increase on 5 March. Starting 2 April no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 8 April.
Non-Member Daily Early registration $110. This rate ends 4 March at 11:59pm; rates will increase on 5 March. Starting 2 April no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 8 April.
Non-Member Daily Early registration AND Hose2Habitat Workshop $160. This rate ends 4 March at 11:59pm; rates will increase on 5 March. Starting 2 April no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 8 April.
Member Daily Full registration $110. This rate will start 5 March and end on 1 April at 11:59pm. Starting 2 April no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 8 April.
Member Daily Full registration AND Hose2Habitat Workshop is SOLD OUT.
Non-Member Daily Full registration $125. This rate will start 5 March and end on 1 April at 11:59pm. Starting 2 April no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 8 April.
Non-Member Daily Full registration AND Hose2Habitat Workshop is SOLD OUT.
On-site Daily Registration $125.
A La Carte Pricing:
Contact us if you have any questions.
100% until 30 days before the start of the conference
50% from 29 days until 8 days before the conference
No refunds starting the week before the conference
CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS (CEU's):
We will again be offering CEU's for a variety of organizations. Once the program is finalized we will submit for credits and post here. We normally offer CEU's for the following organizations:
We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio!
Click here to Book your group rate for the Animal Behavior Management Alliance Annual Conference April 2018
The conference hotel is the Marriott Plaza San Antonio (this link is for general information only- DO NOT use this link to reserve your room or you will be charged a higher rate!). The Marriott is offering ABMA a rate of $156/night. You can reach the hotel reservation line at (800)228-9290 if you prefer to call to make your reservation or if you have difficulty using the TOP link to reserve your room.
Last day to book the ABMA rate is 16 March. The ABMA rate is good 3 days before and after the conference based on availability. Please realize that all upscale San Antonio hotels are expensive. The ABMA guarantees the hotel a certain number of rooms will be sold for the entire week. If we do not meet our room block we have to pay the hotel for those rooms that were not sold. We highly encourage all conference attendees to stay at the Marriott Plaza San Antonio at the discounted rate of $156/night.
AMENITIES: Complimentary wireless internet in all guestrooms.
PARKING: Self parking is $25 per day. Valet parking is $35 per day.
ROOMMATES: Need a roommate? We can help! Pleases contact Traci Schneekloth and submit the following information:
- Your gender
- Roommate gender preference
- How many roommates you would like to have
- How many days you need a roommate
DINING: Do you have dietary restrictions? The hotel will be happy to accommodate you! Please inform them upon reserving your room and upon check-in of your dietary needs. Don't forget to let the ABMA know of your dietary restrictions during the online registration process.
Hotel Location: The conference hotel is the Marriott Plaza San Antonio located at 555 South Alamo Street, San Antonio, TX 78205
Pre-Conference Workshop will be Sunday 8 April at the San Antonio Zoo from 8:30am-4pm.
Price: $50 with a conference registration (weekly or daily). The workshop is SOLD OUT.
Maximum attendees: 36
Transportation from Conference Hotel to San Antonio Zoo and back will be provided. Lunch will also be provided.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
WEATHER: details coming soon
INTERNATIONAL ATTENDEES: The legal drinking age in Texasis 21 years. The electrical outlets in the USA are probably different than at your home. You will need an adapter for your electronic devices as well as a power converter. Outlets in the US are 110V. The US will gladly accept all major credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. You may be charged an international usage fee, so check with your financial institution. What about tipping? Tipping is an often debated topic depending on the services used, but this reference will give you a good idea as to general numbers people often use when traveling in the US: http://www.traveller.com.au/a-guide-to-tipping-in-the-us-when-do-i-tip-and-how-much-39x1t
BACKGROUND ON SAN ANTONIO:
We are excited to welcome Jim Breheny as our Keynote Speaker at the 2018 ABMA Conference in San Antonio. If you don’t know who he is, check out Animal Planet’s show, The Zoo! He is helping to promote people learning more about what zoos are really all about including being leaders in wildlife conservation and education.
As Executive Vice President and General Director, Zoos and Aquarium and Director of the Bronx Zoo, Jim Breheny is responsible for the operation and management of the Bronx Zoo, the New York Aquarium, the Central Park, Prospect Park and Queens Zoos. Collectively, the zoos and aquarium house over 14,000 animals representing 1,500 species. Jim earned a B.S. in Biology from Manhattan College and an M.S. in Biology from Fordham University. He has been with WCS for 44 years, 36 years as a full-time staff member. A former Curatorial Science Fellow and Curator, he was named General Curator in 2004, Director of the Bronx Zoo in 2005 and was appointed General Director in 2011. Jim was an adjunct professor of Biology at Manhattan College from
1988 - 2005.
Jim is a Professional Fellow in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and on its Board of Directors, where he is currently Chair-elect of the AZA. Jim served on the AZA’s Membership and Professional Development Committees, the Field Conservation Committee (FCC) and as Board Liaison to the Wildlife Conservation Management Committee (WCMC) and Safety Committee. He is currently liaison to the AZA Accreditation Commission. Jim is a member of the Zoo Advisory Board of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), on the Board of the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) and the Giant Panda Conservation Foundation (GPCF) and is a past board member of the International Iguana Foundation (IIF) and the Turtle Conservancy (TC) where he still serves as an advisor.
Barbara Heidenreich presenting Advanced Concepts in Animal Training and their Practical Application
In 1982 Barbara Heidenreich secured her first job working with animals in a veterinary hospital. After exploring different animal related jobs and receiving her degree in Zoology from the University of California at Davis in 1990, Barbara started her career as an animal trainer in a zoological park. She has been a professional trainer ever since.
Barbara provides consulting services to zoos, nature centers, universities and other animal facilities. She lectures regularly to the veterinary community and is an adjunct clinical instructor at Texas A & M University, Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences. Barbara is a former president of the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators and served on the Board of Directors from 1997-2009. She volunteers her expertise to support conservation projects, The Kakapo Recovery Program and the Bird Endowment. In her career she has trained animals, trained staff, lectured and/or presented shows at over 60 facilities around the world.
Barbara has been a featured speaker on animal training in over twenty countries and has been published in nine languages. Barbara teaches learning theory as described by the science of behavior analysis. She is also passionate about teaching excellent animal training practical application skills. Barbara is thrilled to have had the opportunity to train thousands of animals, from rats to rhinos. This hands-on practice with so many different individual animals has been invaluable to helping her provide caregivers the tools they need to solve behavior problems and have a great relationship with the animals in their lives based on trust. Her goal is to leave behind a legacy of kindness to animals by sharing her expertise.
For her complete bio please visit http://animaltrainingfundamentals.com/about-us/
Workshop Abstract: Animal training is a field that is dynamic and evolving. Cutting edge professionals are constantly asking questions, challenging themselves to better use the science and technology to improve how we care for animals. This workshop will explore some of the topics that contemporary animal trainers have been embracing and/or exploring more in recent years in an effort to continue to advance the industry. The workshop will cover: Behavior economics, an entire field devoted to the study of reinforcement value and how it influences behavior. Learn how to apply aspects of this field to improve training. What are schedules of reinforcement and which are most relevant in today’s animal training? When undesired behavior occurs there are many options for trainer responses, most have drawbacks. Learn what’s on the menu and what choices facilitate learning without fallout. The bridging stimulus can have numerous different meanings depending on how a trainer uses it. Discover the many possible functions of a bridging stimulus and proper application. Think you are using classical conditioning or counter conditioning when you are introducing that new object and pairing it with food? Not exactly. Intrigued? Join this advanced concepts workshop and learn the latest thinking on this common procedure and others in animal training.
Research & Evaluation Workshop: Observing to Learn - Learning to Observe
Dr. Heather Hill, St. Mary's University and Dr. Rachel Walker, University of The Incarnate Word
Dr. Heather Hill completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Texas A&M University, College Station with a minor in Oceanography in 1996. She earned her master’s (2000) and doctoral (2003) degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi under the mentorship of Dr. Stan Kuczaj. Dr. Hill spent 3 years working as a research assistant at the Navy Marine Mammal Program in San Diego, CA. Dr. Hill has been teaching psychology at St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, TX since 2007 and is an Associate Professor. Dr. Hill spent the first 10 years of her marine mammal career conducting research on the mother-calf relationship and social development of bottlenose dolphins in human care. She also studied mirror self-recognition and mirror use in dolphins and sea lions. Most recently, she has been studying the social behavior and cognitive abilities of belugas, killer whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, and sea lions in human care through collaborations with SeaWorld San Antonio, Georgia Aquarium, Dr. Deirdre Yeater and Mystic Aquarium, Dr. Michael Noonan and Marineland, Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski and Dolphin Communication Project, the Houston Zoo, and several other facilities and collaborators.
Dr. Rachel Walker completed her bachelor’s degree (1999) and master’s degree in Biology and her doctoral degree (2005) in Experimental Psychology from The University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Walker spent 10 years working at Charleston Southern University in which she was a Full Professor and the Chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences. For the past three years she has been teaching at University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio as an Associate Professor. Dr. Walker spent seven years conducting research on bottlenose dolphins in the wild and under professional care. She also focused on the potential impact of anthropogenic noise on sperm whales in the Gulf of Mexico in collaboration with The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), University of New Orleans (UNO), Naval Research Laboratory at Stennis Space Center (NRL-SCC), and the Naval Oceanographic office (NAVOCEANO). Most recently, Dr. Walker is examining patterns of behavior in a variety of mammals (e.g., beluga whales, bottlenose dolphins, elephants) under professional care. She has also conducted research in the areas of social-cognitive psychology and technology as well as scholarship of teaching and learning. Her teaching and research experience, with Biology and Psychology, has provided her with the skills to effectively share the knowledge and impact of research in the field of behavior and cognition.
Workshop Abstract: Whether animals or people, behavior provides many insights with clear applications across a broad range of contexts. Behavior can inform humans about animal health, animal social tendencies, animal enrichment, animal food/habitat preferences, and overall animal well-being. Behavior can inform humans about humans watching animals, including what to attend to, whether they attend to the animals, how long they attend or stay at the habitat. The primary purpose of this multi-day workshop is to provide attendees training on and practice with several data collection techniques that can be used to evaluate animal behavior in both spontaneous and enrichment-provided settings. The program will include a presentation on different data collection techniques and the types of questions each technique can address. Prior to the presentation, a survey will be completed by attendees to indicate which techniques they are accustomed to and have utilized at their facilities. The data from this survey will be summarized to provide perspective to the attendees. Attendees will have coordinated opportunities to practice during the training portion of the workshop. Following the training session, attendees will then participate in data collection at SeaWorld San Antonio and San Antonio Zoo. Each participant will be expected to spend 20- min at one location each day collecting data. The 20-min period will be split into two 10-min data collection periods in which attendees will actively collect data using two different techniques during that collection. The techniques will be randomized so that every person has a chance to practice three different techniques across the two facilities. Each facility has 4-6 habitats that have been pre-selected for observations across the day. Some observations will involve natural, spontaneous behavior of the animals, some will occur during feeding times by the public (if applicable), some will be during feeding times by the facility staff members, some will involve different forms of enrichment (predetermined) provided by the facility, and some will involve watching human guests while at the exhibit. Attendees will be asked to sign up for one 20-min slot at SeaWorld and one 20-min slot at San Antonio Zoo. The data will be collected on paper and provided to each attendee at the observation location. Attendees will return the datasheets to a research assistant provided by the workshop leaders. The data will be entered by the research assistants and summarized by the workshop leaders during the final portion of the workshop. The data collected will hopefully inform the facilities of any behavioral patterns observed during the day as well as demonstrate the usefulness of different types of data collection depending on the question of interest. The final portion of this multi-day workshop will allow attendees to share their experiences with the different techniques utilized across the two facilities. A post-workshop survey will be conducted and the results will be summarized and made available to ABMA at a later time. Ultimately, we hope this workshop will illustrate the collaborative nature of research and provide attendees with ideas about facilitating similar efforts with local universities.
Thad brings more than 40 years of executive management and pioneering accomplishments to the field of behavior modification. He specializes in positive reinforcement application for animal facilities, school systems, parents and corporations worldwide. A staunch proponent of excellence in zoological facilities, Thad is frequently sought by the media for his expert opinion on a variety of animal-related issues. He has debated several outspoken animal extremists on shows such as Larry King Live, PBS radio, The Kelly File, and many others. In 2016, he produced and hosted the documentary, Elephant Trainer in the Room, exploring the two polarized approaches to teaching elephants in human care. In 2008, Thad retired from a 35 year career at Busch Entertainment Corporation as Vice President and Corporate Curator of Animal Training for all U.S. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks. He was instrumental in developing their industry-leading techniques, husbandry procedures, the original concept for Discovery Cove and the spectacular killer whale shows, one of which received the prestigious THEA Award. Lacinak is a member of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association where he served as Vice President and he was a founder and President of the Animal Behavior Management Alliance. Thad’s 2001 New York Times' bestseller, Whale Done! sold over a million copies in eighteen languages. Whale Done Parenting was released in the Fall of 2009 and The Whale Done School was released in the Spring of 2012.
Gary was hired by Moorpark College in 1985 to take over as program coordinator from retiring EATM founder William Brisby. He did the job of overseeing the program, keeping the curriculum up-to-date, and managing the college's Exotic Animal Compound. Starting in 1990, Gary managed the operation of America's Teaching Zoo, the college’s on-campus animal facility, which he helped design and build. In 2001, Gary returned to teaching full-time. Over his career, Gary has taught many of the courses offered by the EATM program but his favorites are Animal Diversity, Animal Behavior, and Animal Training. As the animal training professor, he has had the opportunity to work with a wide range of animals including monkeys, camels, big cats, large reptiles, and birds of prey. Gary graduated from the EATM program in 1977 and then worked as a contractor to the US Navy, training bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, and belugas. In 1980, he returned to school to earn a B.A. in environmental and evolutionary biology (1982) and an M.A. in biological sciences (1985), both at UC Santa Barbara. He worked briefly as a relief keeper at the Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens. From 1998 to 2000, Gary helped create the Animal Behavior Management Alliance and then served on its board of directors as the chief financial officer. Since 2003, he has been a member of the Director’s Advisory Committee on Humane Care and Treatment of Wild Animals for the California Depart of Fish and Wildlife. Gary contributed two chapters to Zookeeping: An Introduction to the Science and Technology, published in 2013. In 2015, he was given the Hal Markowitz Wellness Award from the San Francisco Zoological Society and named the Distinguished Faculty Chair at Moorpark College for the 2015-2016 academic year.
Sunday, 8 April
8:30am-4:00pm Hose2Habitat Workshop
6:00pm-9:00pm Icebreaker at Hemisphere Park (across from the hotel)
Monday, 9 April
8:20am-9:40am Keynote speaker Jim Brehney
9:40am-10:00am AnimalProfessional.com presentation
AN APPLE A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY: TRAINING A HERD OF BISON FOR MEDICAL CARE by Tiffany Laracuente, Salato Wildlife Education Center, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
Salato Wildlife Education Center is the only wildlife center run by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Staff care for a wide range of Kentucky native wildlife from snakes and fish, to raptors, bears and elk. One prominent and popular animal is the herd of 1.3 American Bison (Bison bison). Historically, this herd is very skittish when trying to apply fly spray, ivermectin or any medical care. This resulted in at least one bison developing hot spots that were hard to treat every summer. Starting in February 2017, we created a training program for the bison. Now all four bison willingly come up to a station for training fly spray and ivermectin; in addition, two of the bison are trained for injections. Summer of 2017 is the first year that none of the bison developed hot spots. We have also been able to train the bison for the public and use the training as a way to help educate. This presentation/paper will outline the steps taken from the beginning to where we are now. Moreover, we will go over all the herd and individual challenges along the way.
TRAINING KILLER WHALES (ORCINUS ORCA) FOR BEHAVIORAL AUDIOGRAMS by Doug Acton, SeaWorld San Antonio
The widespread distribution of killer whales (Orcinus orca) makes them particularly susceptible to the negative impacts from human sourced noise pollution, but previous audiometric data on this species was limited. Eight killer whales housed at SeaWorld San Antonio and SeaWorld San Diego were conditioned to respond to underwater tones to determine their auditory thresholds from 100 Hz to 160 kHz under precise scientific conditions. Although each whale performed over 1500 trials for the study, motivation and behavioral consistency was maintained through the use of variety in reinforcement delivered in variable ratios. The data collected on audio thresholds has significant conservation value in empowering legislators to protect wild orcas from noise pollution.
THE QUARANTINE EXPERIENCE by Nicki Boyd, San Diego Zoo
Quarantine can be one of the most stressful times in an animal’s life. As we constantly look for ways to improve welfare of animals in managed care, quarantine should be no exception. With thoughtful considerations of risk assessment, behavioral history, social structure, and enrichment experiences, animal care staff can create behavioral goals and work closely with veterinary and hospital keeper staff to reduce any unnecessary testing or putting them in a completely sterile and isolated environment for a minimum of 30 days. With access to documents like Animal Data Transfer forms and Enrichment Data Transfer forms ahead of a shipment a thoughtful behavioral plan can be formulated. Pre-shipment testing can often preclude the need for lengthy quarantine times and repeat testing. Some facilities are even moving animals straight into their new habitats, reducing quarantine time or timing quarantine with con-specifics or bringing a buddy up for social species like birds, hoofstock and primates. The Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA) Behavior Advisory Group (BAG) is coming up with best practices and behavioral and welfare consideration that will be shared in this paper. As we continue to strive for the best welfare for animals in our care quarantine does not have to be that stressful, isolated, sterile process we have followed for so many years. With animal care and veterinary care working closely together this is one more area that can be a priority for welfare improvement for animals in managed care.
TRAINING VOLUNTARY BLOOD DRAW WITH A DIABETIC WHITE-CHEEKED GIBBON (Nomascus leucogenys) by Sara E. Gonzalez, WCS, Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo houses a pair of white-cheeked gibbons (Nomascus leucogenys). In 2014, our male gibbon, Milton, was diagnosed with diabetes. The first attempt to manage Milton's diabetes involved dietary changes and oral medication; however, these treatments were unable to effectively control his diabetes. Because Milton had a strong injection training history, the decision was made to start daily insulin injections. Insulin treatment required close monitoring of Milton's blood glucose levels which was initially achieved by training Milton for both urine testing and blood glucose testing with a glucometer. Although both of these methods provide useful information about Milton’s glucose levels, a larger blood sample would allow veterinarians to evaluate changes in his glucose levels over time and modify his treatment plan accordingly. We began training Milton for voluntarily blood draw in April 2015, and had our first successful blood draw in May 2016. This presentation will outline the steps we took to train the blood draw behavior and the challenges we faced along the way. One of the major challenges was designing an appropriate blood sleeve for Milton. Not only did the sleeve need to accommodate Milton’s long arm and fingers, it had to be modified multiple times in order to position Milton’s arm in a way that would allow easier access to his vein. Training this complex behavior has allowed us to obtain regular blood samples, which has enabled us to better monitor Milton's health, evaluate the efficacy of his treatment, and improve his overall quality of life.
12:00pm-1:30pm Lunch on your own
DON’T SHOOT THE ZEBRA-PONY! USING AN INTRIGUING CASE STUDY TO EDUCATE AND PROMOTE THE USE OF EVIDENCE BASED BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT WITH DOMESTIC EQUINES by Megan Phillips and Jody Ambrose, Train with Trust
The practical application and scientific understanding of animal training and behavior management has evolved tremendously in the past 20-30 years. Much of the development of applied techniques and foundational philosophies, has occurred in the contexts of zoos and aquariums as well as dog training and behavior modification. Unfortunately, advancement of this approach has been greatly limited in the world of horse training and management. Many routine interactions with horses rely on force, positive punishment and chemical restraint. There is a lack of standardized education for those entering into horse care. While there aren’t any universally accepted standards for breeding, keeping, transporting and training horses, a preponderance of unsubstantiated pseudoscience and deeply rooted traditions are the main influence behind what continuity does exist. The consequences for horses have been compromised welfare, undesirable and/or dangerous behavior, poor performance, abuse and a high rate of surrender to rescue and slaughter. A clear opportunity exists for behavioral science and applied behavior management techniques to be disseminated to those involved in horse training and care. These range from owners, veterinarians and trainers to farriers, stable-owners and workers. Train with Trust has had an opportunity to bring greater awareness to this cause. In partnership with Equitopia, a non-profit dedicated to increasing evidence-based horse care education, we have been able to highlight our work with a zebra-pony hybrid whose story typifies many of the difficulties seen in the horse world. Her story may also provide one possible road-map for an improved future in horse behavior management.
USING OPERANT CONDITIONING TO TREAT FOR COMPLIMENTARY ALTERNATIVE THERAPY IN CARNIVORES by Katie Buckley-Jones, Houston Zoo, Inc.
The Houston Zoo veterinary and animal care staff has been working closely with a consulting complementary therapy veterinarian to provide the collection with a variety of treatments ranging from chiropractic adjustments, laser acupuncture, and therapeutic stretches in conjunction with traditional Western medicine. In the carnivore department, operant conditioning and positive reinforcement techniques have been utilized to more completely care for some of the medical cases. The complimentary therapy veterinarian has prescribed a variety of stretches for the animals, so it has been the keeper’s challenge to train them to participate in their own medical care. For example, there is a cheetah who is working on his rear leg strength, a leopard with nerve issues who does stretches, a bear who was trained for multiple stretches, and a few cats who have been conditioned to receive laser acupuncture alleviate discomfort associated with arthritis. The leopard has shown significant improvement with his nerve damage due to his stretching regime and acupuncture. The geriatric Andean bear also showed mobility improvement when she began her stretching. One side effect that has been observed is some animals appear to enjoy the laser acupuncture so much, the treatment itself becomes the reinforcement and no food reinforcement is needed. The ability to train for complementary medicinal treatments has improved the comfort and welfare for many of the Houston Zoo’s carnivores and shows promise for other species as well.
W.T.F (WHAT'S THE FUNCTION): HOW YOUR L.R.S COULD BE MAINTAINING ABERRANT BEHAVIORS by Sandy McPadden, Sandy McPadden Animal Behavior Consulting
In the field of human behavior modification, behavior analysts are required by their credentialing board to conduct assessments prior to recommending or initiating behavior modification procedures. In the field of animal behavior modification, this applied methodology is not as common, especially in attempts to decrease aberrant behavior. By applying similar human behavior assessments and intervention techniques to the field of animal behavior, animal behavior management teams can draw upon decades of applied research to achieve groundbreaking advances in captive animal welfare. The future of animal behavior management is to systematically identify the function of a behavior before ever developing a behavioral intervention plan. By doing this we will energize animal behavior management teams to take advantage of empirically validated protocols thus adhering to some of the very same ethical standards mandated for human behavioral interventions. This presentation discusses how first identifying the function of an aberrant behavior and then utilizing that same function to reinforce an alternative target behavior allows for a more effective and ethical intervention program. Furthermore, the function of Escape and its’ relationship to the commonly utilized technique, Least Reinforcing Scenario (LRS), will be deeply examined. Lastly, how employing protocols used in human behavior modification and holding animal behavior management teams to those same ethical standards can benefit guest perception of animal conservation programs.
APPROXIMATING A CULTURE: INNOVATIVE TRAINING CONCEPTS FOR ZOO KNOXVILLE'S ELEPHANTS by Becca Wyatt, Zoo Knoxville
Zoo Knoxville’s elephant program has redefined its behavior management program and reshaped the culture in which the staff and elephants work with one another. The focus of the behavior program has shifted to a more process orientation, from what was previously a goal orientation. This has enabled us to better customize behavior programs for each individual elephant. The “study of one” allows for innovative approaches such as two-way communication between trainer and elephant, elephant choice in how training progresses, and individualized trainer response tailored to the needs of each elephant. We have found that these strategies have increased trust between elephant and trainer, which has improved our ability to work on the more advanced and vulnerable husbandry behaviors. The shift in culture has generated more confident elephants and more confident staff. As a result, the welfare of our elephants has improved. One of our missions as a zoo is to help draw a connection between animals and guests to promote a commitment to conservation. Our program can better do this with training sessions on exhibit where our elephants are eager to participate and encourage a sense of wonder from our guests. Our positive culture allows the public to view physiological and emotionally healthy elephants. This inspires guests to understand and support conservation more effectively.
CHANGE IN THE FLIGHT PLAN: GIVING RESCUED MACAWS A CHOICE by Emily Yunker, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
In September 2017 the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was made aware of an animal hoarding situation in Enterprise, Alabama. During a confiscation of over 60 dogs a wildlife officer found sixteen macaws in cages wrapped in tarps. A local sanctuary was temporarily housing the macaws but being a non-profit native wildlife rescue, they did not have the ability to care for all of the birds long term. The Columbus Zoo agreed to take all sixteen macaws and assume responsibility for their welfare and placement. With little to no information available on any of their physical states or history, the birds had to be restrained for health exams by the zoo's vet staff. Many medical issues were uncovered, including a young hyacinth macaw with old fractures in both legs, a scarlet macaw with a coelomic hernia likely from over breeding, and a scarlet macaw with a ruptured air sac. Through building trusting relationships with positive reinforcement training we were not only able to improve their quality of life, but give them a choice to participate in their own healthcare. Voluntary radiographs, ingestion of barium, and removal of air from under the skin are just the beginning stages of creating stress-free and healthful future for these birds. Despite the fact that all of these macaws came from the same situation, they remain different individuals. Therefore, training was modified to accommodate each animal's needs, making this truly a study of one and laying the framework for future rescues and conservation efforts.
PROVIDING CHOICE AND CONTROL FOR AMBASSADOR ANIMALS BY TRAINING COMMUNICATIVE BEHAVIORS
Kristen Frizzell, National Aquarium
Providing animals with choice and control has become a major focus in managed care. These concepts are accepted as primary reinforcers and animal care professionals believe that animals should not feel trapped in a situation or forced to do something. The Animal Programs department at the National Aquarium has implemented such practices and is now working on the next level by training animals to communicate their preferences. Using a similar approach to the Norwegian horse blanket study, a non-flighted adult female hyacinth macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) was taught to ring a doorbell on her perch in order to communicate when she is ready to return to her enclosure. By utilizing successive approximation, some creative engineering, and a fantastic team, she learned the behavior within a few months. We’ve learned a great deal about the macaw’s preferences since training this doorbell behavior and also learned that some of our assumptions were wrong. Future plans include training her to ring different bells to communicate other requests and by continuing to work on other choice and control opportunities with all of our ambassador animals. We hope this work inspires other facilities to develop new and exciting ways to teach animals to communicate their preferences. You never know what you’ll learn about your animals until you give them the opportunity to tell you.
4:00pm – 5:00pm Research & Evaluation Workshop: Observing to Learn - Learning to Observe by Dr. Heather Hill, St. Mary's University and Dr. Rachel Walker, University of the Incarnate Word
Whether animals or people, behavior provides many insights with clear applications across a broad range of contexts. Behavior can inform humans about animal health, animal social tendencies, animal enrichment, animal food/habitat preferences, and overall animal well-being. Behavior can inform humans about humans watching animals, including what to attend to, whether they attend to the animals, how long they attend or stay at the habitat. The primary purpose of this multi-day workshop is to provide attendees training on and practice with several data collection techniques that can be used to evaluate animal behavior in both spontaneous and enrichment-provided settings. The program will include a presentation on different data collection techniques and the types of questions each technique can address. Prior to the presentation, a survey will be completed by attendees to indicate which techniques they are accustomed to and have utilized at their facilities. The data from this survey will be summarized to provide perspective to the attendees. Attendees will have coordinated opportunities to practice during the training portion of the workshop. Following the training session, attendees will then participate in data collection at SeaWorld San Antonio and San Antonio Zoo. Each participant will be expected to spend 20- min at one location each day collecting data. The 20-min period will be split into two 10-min data collection periods in which attendees will actively collect data using two different techniques during that collection. The techniques will be randomized so that every person has a chance to practice three different techniques across the two facilities. Each facility has 4-6 habitats that have been pre-selected for observations across the day. Some observations will involve natural, spontaneous behavior of the animals, some will occur during feeding times by the public (if applicable), some will be during feeding times by the facility staff members, some will involve different forms of enrichment (predetermined) provided by the facility, and some will involve watching human guests while at the exhibit. Attendees will be asked to sign up for one 20-min slot at SeaWorld and one 20-min slot at San Antonio Zoo. The data will be collected on paper and provided to each attendee at the observation location. Attendees will return the datasheets to a research assistant provided by the workshop leaders. The data will be entered by the research assistants and summarized by the workshop leaders during the final portion of the workshop. The data collected will hopefully inform the facilities of any behavioral patterns observed during the day as well as demonstrate the usefulness of different types of data collection depending on the question of interest. The final portion of this multi-day workshop will allow attendees to share their experiences with the different techniques utilized across the two facilities. A post-workshop survey will be conducted and the results will be summarized and made available to ABMA at a later time. Ultimately, we hope this workshop will illustrate the collaborative nature of research and provide attendees with ideas about facilitating similar efforts with local universities.
Dinner on your Own
7:00pm–9:00pm Professional Development Workshop
Night out on your own
*Meals- breakfast, lunch, & dinner on your own
Tuesday, 10 April
San Antonio Zoo site visit
Poster Night and Silent Auction at the zoo
*Meals- breakfast on your own; lunch & dinner provided at the zoo.
Wednesday, 11 April
Training Workshop- Barbara Heidenreich
Committee Meetings & Program Council
Night out on your own
*Meals- breakfast, lunch, & dinner on your own
Thursday, 12 April
Sea World site visit
Member Business Meeting
*Meals- breakfast & dinner on your own; lunch provided at SeaWorld.
Friday, 13 April
Research & Evaluation Workshop wrap up
*Meals- breakfast & lunch on your own. The banquet is Friday night and concludes the conference. Cocktails from 6:30-7:00 and dinner from 7:00-10:00.
Details will be posted as they are finalized. If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact us. We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio!