April 23-28, 2017 in Cincinnati, OH
"Back to Basics: Crossing The Bridge Between Training and Conservation"
The Hilton Netherland Plaza will be the conference hotel with a rate of $139/night. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is hosting the conference. Planned site visits include the host facility as well as the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. We hope to see you in Ohio!
Quick Links for Conference Information
We are please to announce that Florencia Presa from the Temaiken Foundation has been awarded the BMF Scholarship with her paper entitled “Improve Animal Welfare in Alouatta Caraya From Illegal Traffic". Congratulations Florencia!
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. Application Form.
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.
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- 16 April 2017. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Conference Content Advisory Committee Co-Chair, Christine McKnight, at email@example.com or the 2017 Vice President, Kelly Elkins, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The abstract deadline has passed for the 2017 annual conference.
Timeline for Abstract Submissions:
1/15 abstracts due
1/20 EXTENDED abstract deadline!
2/12 notifications to presenters
2/28 presenters accept/decline
4/16 papers due for proceedings
The conservation item you will receive at the conference this year is a very special bracelet. This bracelet is made by the Masai women living in East Africa. The Cincinnati Zoo has a partnership in which they directly purchase these traditional Masai bead bracelets, therefore supporting the livelihood of over 100 Masai women directly as well as inspiring lion conservation as well. Conservation begins in the community. Please watch the link to learn more about this amazing effort.
Weekly Registration Pricing:
Weekly registrations are for the week of 23-28 April 2017. The evening of the 23rd is our icebreaker. The evening of the 28th 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 available for purchase until 28 February 2017. The next day, 1 March, the price increases.
Non-member Early registration $395 available for purchase until 28 February 2017. The next day, 1 March, the price increases.
Member Full registration $385 available for purchase from 1 March to 16 April 2017. The next day, 17 April, no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 23 April.
Non-member Full registration $445 available for purchase from 1 March to 16 April 2017. The next day, 17 April, no weekly registrations will be available for purchase until the conference starts on 23 April.
Member On-site registration $450 starting 23 April 2017.
Non-member On-site registration $510 starting 23 April 2017.
Daily Registration Pricing:
Daily registrations are for any day during the week of 24-28 April. The icebreaker on the evening of the 23rd and the banquet on the evening of the 28th are extra- see A La Carte pricing below.
Member Daily Early registration $95 available for purchase until 28 Feb 2017. The next day, 1 March, the price increases.
Non-member Daily Early registration $110 available for purchase until 28 Feb 2017. The next day, 1 March, the price increases.
Member Daily Full registration $110 available for purchase from 1 March to 28 April 2017.
Non-member Daily Full registration $125 available for purchase from 1 March to 28 April 2017.
A La Carte Pricing:
Pre-conference workshop $75 (max 55 people) on 23 April from 8:30am to 3:30pm. Lunch & transportation provided. Workshop will be at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Icebreaker $40 (23 April)
Banquet $95 (28 April)
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 Cincinnati!
RESERVATIONS: You can book your hotel online. The last day to receive the ABMA rate is 4 April. If you do not use the online reservation system, please let the hotel know you are with ABMA to receive our discounted rate. Check-in is after 4pm, check-out is before noon. Baggage storage is available for guests who arrive before check-in or need to stay longer after check-out.
Single/Double occupancy- $139/night
ROOMMATES: Need a roommate? We can help! Please contact Arielle Schepmoes ASchepmoes@denverzoo.org with the following information:
- Your gender
- What gender you wouldn’t mind sharing a room
- 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.
AMENITIES: Overnight Parking Garage Rates: Self- $20/night, Valet-$25/night. There is additional self parking near the hotel for $15/day but without in/out privileges.
Complimentary Wireless Internet for all conference delegates in their rooms!
Hotel Location: The Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza is located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati at the corner of Fifth and Race Streets. It is easily accessible from Interstates I-71 and I-75. The hotel’s luggage, valet and self-parking options are on the left side of Race Street between Fifth and Fourth Streets. Please use 418 Race Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202 for your GPS destination (note: this is not the hotel’s mailing address).
Directions from CVG: Take I-275 East to I- 75 North. Take 5th Street Exit and go 3 blocks east to Race. To park, turn right on Race. Luggage drop on the left. Valet & self parking are just past the doorman on the left. Valet under green arrow & self parking in Mabley Garage. Distance from Hotel: 12 miles. Drive Time: 15 minutes.
Basic transportation charges: Limousine- $125, Executive transportation-$24.00/one way $36.00/round trip , Taxi- $34, TANK- $2 (public transportation), Rental Car- Varies. Learn more about general transportation from CVG.
If booking Executive Transportation please call prior to your arrival to book your reservation at 800-990-8841.
TANK is a 40 minute public transportation ride that runs from the CVG airport to the Hilton Netherlands Hotel. Cost is $2.00 each way.
Pre-Conference Workshop by Shape of Enrichment!
Instructors: Mark Kingston Jones, Chris Hales, and Valerie J. Hare
Date: Sunday, 23 April from 8:30am-3:30pm. Transportation and lunch provided.
Location: Cincinnati Zoo
Cost: $75, 55 people max. Cost for this workshop is separate from the conference registration. You can purchase tickets here!
Description: At The Shape of Enrichment we have been running workshops for keepers, animal care staff, and university students since 2000. These are designed around a core of practical and theoretical units, to assist animal caretakers in creating and assessing effective enrichment plans within their institutions. Over 100 workshops have been conducted to date, both as in-house staff training or as publicly available courses.
In addition to the material we are delivering during the 2017 ABMA Conference, our pre-conference workshop is designed to give animal caretakers the chance to put their practical skills to the test, and maybe develop some new ones, as we construct long-term-use enrichment devices. We will be working with various taxonomic groups at Cincinnati Zoo and participants will be building pre-designed items, installing them in the animal enclosures, and observing how the animals respond. This will be a physically active session, with hand and power tools -- and rest assured there won’t be a cardboard box or flour and water in sight!
WE HAVE A NEW WEBSITE: www.teambuildingwithbite.co.uk
Please contact us if you have any questions.
Our mission at the Cincinnati Zoo is creating adventure, conveying knowledge, conserving nature, and serving community. Please join us at the second oldest zoo in the country for a day of animal fun and exploration. Visit the new Hippo Cove, the final stage of the Africa exhibit, featuring Nile hippo, painted dog, meerkat, cheetah, lion, giraffe, ostrich and more! Watch cheetahs run full speed, birds fly right over your head, and barnyard animals strut their stuff in our animal shows. Don’t forget to take time to admire the beautiful grounds around the zoo, making us an award winning botanical garden as well as a zoo.
The world famous Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden opened to the public 140 years ago and has been rated the #1 attraction locally and one of the top zoos in the nation by Zagat Survey. It has also been recognized by Child Magazine as one of "The 10 Best Zoos for Kids." Over 1.5 million people visit the Zoo’s award-winning exhibits, and more than 500 animal and 3000 plant species annually. The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), is internationally known for its success in the protection and propagation of endangered animals and plants, and engages in research and conservation projects worldwide.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is over 500 acres and home to more than 10,000 animals representing over 600 species from around the globe. The Zoo is a regional attraction with global impact; annually contributing more than $4 million of privately raised funds to support conservation projects worldwide.
Join us for a day of adventure and wildlife, beginning and ending the day with spectacular views of our Heart of Africa region, recently awarded top honors by the AZA in the exhibit award category. We look forward to show casing our various exotic animal shows and how we have utilized training to enhance guest experience. We strive to lead and inspire by connecting people and wildlife.
WEATHER: The weather in April in Cincinnati can be pretty extreme. We can have highs in the lower 80’s and lows in the 30’s. The average temperature in April is generally between 50-70 degrees during the day. Pack a rain jacket though because on any given day you will have a 50% chance of rain.
INTERNATIONAL ATTENDEES: The legal drinking age in Ohio is 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.myfoxtampabay.com/story/686949/travelers-tipping-guide
BACKGROUND ON CINCINNATI:
Megan received a B.A. from Middlebury College and an M.S. in raptor ecology from Boise State University. She returned to her home state of Montana to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Montana in Wildlife Biology on the scent-marking behavior and territoriality of wild dogs in Botswana. She began pioneering training methods for conservation detection dogs in 1996. Megan has been involved in dog training, obedience, and search-and-rescue since childhood. She is interested in the international use of conservation working dogs to help under-funded projects acquire excellent data, reduce costs and preserve endangered species.
Working Dogs for Conservation is the world’s leading conservation detection dog organization. We combine expert canine data collection with cutting-edge laboratory techniques to help answer some of the most pressing questions in conservation. Building upon techniques from narcotics detection, cadaver detection, and search and rescue, we have pioneered ways to use dogs’ extraordinary sense of smell to protect wildlife and wild places.
Our dogs can detect weeds before they break the surface, animals that live below ground and aquatic organisms invisible to the human eye. Our co-founders were the first to train dogs to detect wide-ranging carnivores non-invasively, to uncover illegal snares in Africa, and to find invasive plants, insects, and fish. We are also at the forefront of the fight against wildlife trafficking, training dogs to detect ammunition, guns, poisons, snares, ivory, rhino horn, and pangolin scales.
Heidi has been working in the animal care and training field for 29 years, in roles such as marine mammal trainer, wildlife educator, zoo keeper, behavior management curator, and animal area curator; and is currently the curator of primates at the Saint Louis Zoo. Heidi is one of the founding directors of the ABMA, and has served in a number of leadership roles within the organization. She is also owned by three parrots, who keep her humble about any delusions she might have about her animal training abilities.
Mark Kingston Jones
Paper sessions will be on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Site visits will be Tuesday to Cincinnati Zoo (food provided) and Thursday to Columbus Zoo (food provided). Career night will be Monday night at the hotel. Silent auction will be Tuesday night at the hotel (hors d'oeuvres provided). Poster night will be Thursday at the Columbus Zoo (food provided). Don't forget the icebreaker will be Sunday evening at the Newport Aquarium and the banquet will be Friday evening at the hotel.
DETAILED TENTATIVE PROGRAM:
Sunday, 23 April
Icebreaker at the Newport Aquarium! Transportation and food provided.
Monday, 24 April
8:00-8:30- Welcome and opening remarks
8:30-10:00- Keynote Speaker- Megan Parker, Working Dogs for Conservation
10:30-10:50- TRAINING SLOTH BEARS (MELUSUS URSINUS), GRIZZLY BEARS (URSUS ARCTOS HORRIBILIS) AND ANDEAN BEARS (TREMARCTOS ORNATUS) FOR VOLUNTARY BLOOD DRAWS IN A RESTRICTED CONTACT SETTING AT CLEVELAND METROPARKS ZOO by Curt Gindlesperger, Angel Mitchell, Patty Young, Kevin Roxbury, Michael Murray; Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
At Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (CMZ) sloth bears (Melursus ursinus), grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) and Andean bears (Tremarctos ornatus) are all involved in an intensive behavior management program including a training program utilizing operant conditioning with positive reinforcement in a restricted contact setting. The Wilderness Trek and Veterinary Services teams at CMZ now have the ability to collect voluntary blood samples from all three species in a restricted contact setting using positive reinforcement training. In concert with an innovative training program, teamwork, problem solving and communication, the 1960s era bear holding facilities at CMZ were modified to make our blood draw program safe and successful. The ability to routinely obtain blood samples to monitor bear health or provide diagnostic blood samples for future research is invaluable. The impact of this successful program has to potential to benefit individual animal health, population welfare studies, and in-situ conservation.
10:50-11:10- THINKING OUTSIDE THE SHELL FOR CONSERVATION: INSPIRING ZOO GUESTS BY TRAINING BEHAVIORS IN TORTOISES FOR PUBLIC ENCOUNTERS by Lauren Etzkorn, Columbus Zoo
Tortoises have survived successfully for well over 200 million years. Due to human activity, however, they are now amongst the vertebrates most at risk of extinction. Despite their historic and intrinsic value they are not commonly appreciated by the public for their relatability in the same way as many of their mammalian counterparts. It can be difficult for many guests to empathize or identify with species of the cold-blooded variety. At the Animal Encounters, animal care staff aims to provide opportunities for the public to relate to reptiles in a way that might change their perspective. Zoo-goers can visit a number of tortoises of various species in the Village’s Tortoise Yard. One of the most popular occupants there is Grouchy, the Sulcata tortoise who has been target trained for daily walks with zoo guests. During Grouchy's trainer-accompanied treks, guests observe positive reinforcement training-in-action and sometimes have the opportunity to reward Grouchy with grapes. Radiated tortoise Ted, a member one of the most endangered species in the world, was trained to enter through a door onstage and slide down a ramp in order to get close enough for guests to touch his shell. Each of these experiences gives the zoo guests a chance to see these species making choices and demonstrating control over their environments. This paper outlines the ways in which training behaviors for guest interaction, in unexpectedly “intelligent” species such as tortoises, allows the public to relate to and ultimately become invested in their long-term protection.
11:10-11:30- MARIANA FRUIT DOVE: THE JOURNEY FROM EXHIBIT TO SHOW by Rebecca I. Grimm, Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Last year, Disney’s Animal Kingdom® introduced many new species into our animal population. One of those species is the beautiful Mariana fruit dove, a native of the Marina islands. Disney’s Animal Kingdom® is involved with the Marianas Avifauna Conservation (MAC) project that works to conserve this species and many other species on the Mariana Islands. We wanted to share this species’ conservation story with our guests. Our Mariana fruit dove, Smithers, came from an institution where he was housed individually due to his incompatibility with other birds and potential mates. We brought Smithers into our collection hoping to make him the first Mariana fruit dove ever to be an animal ambassador. The challenge seemed a little daunting, but positive reinforcement got us there. We started by building a positive relationship with Smithers and creating clear communication through reinforcement. Consistency and patience are key in training any species. Join us on the journey from exhibit to show as we share with you the successes and challenges in training the first Mariana fruit dove to be an animal ambassador.
1:00-1:20- POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT TRAINING INCREASES POSITIVE BEHAVIOR IN RED-TAILED HAWK by Ellen Dreyer, Brevard Zoo
Brevard Zoo houses 0.1 red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), a rehabbed bird with an old fracture to her left wing, preventing her from being released. She was previously tethered to a perch during the day and placed in a small mew overnight. To improve her welfare, she was transferred to the zoo’s vulture aviary where she could have the choice to move around and fly. After transferring her, keepers noticed an increase in negative behavior including screaming excessively, footing staff, charging staff, and biting the equipment when she was on the glove during daily walks. Keepers immediately labeled her as unhappy in the new exhibit. But before moving her back to her old perch and reducing her ability to make meaningful choices, an ethogram was created and behavioral observations began in order to collect data to determine exactly when the negative behavior was occurring and what variables could be changed to decrease the behavior. Observations revealed the behavior was exclusively directed at staff or at other birds when staff was present. The largest amount of negative behaviors occurred when keepers were handling the hawk. At these times, keepers were using a very low rate of reinforcement for behaviors including flying to the glove and staying still while equipment was put on. Increasing opportunities for positive reinforcement during handling resulted in a decrease of negative behavior and an increase in positive behavior. Her demeanor changed as staff increased their trust accounts with her and she is now called a happy bird.
1:20-1:40- USE OF FISSION-FUSION TO DECREASE AGGRESSION IN A FAMILY GROUP OF WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLAS by David Minich, Grace Meloy, Ron Evans, Ashley Ashcraft, Eric High; Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
Captive western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) are commonly managed as harems, a social structure characterized by one silverback male overseeing a group of females and sired offspring. This reflects the species’ typical social structure, contrasting with the model of fission-fusion by bonobos (Pan paniscus), for example, in which group members leisurely disperse and rejoin the larger commune. In 2014, Asha, a female gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, gave birth to her first offspring. Consistent and protective support of her offspring from the silverback allowed Asha to gain dominance. Asha became fixated on a two-year-old in the group, often grabbing and displaying aggression towards her. This behavior, in combination with a lack of discipline from the silverback, resulted in numerous aggressive incidents between Asha and other females, increasing stress within the group. Although considered state of the art in 1978 and still manageable today, the linear style holding of the current gorilla facility (scheduled for a comprehensive renovation in 2017) catalyzed group disturbances. This unique dynamic along with a potential pregnancy within the group prompted the need for an innovative behavior management structure. To maintain the well-being of all group members, keepers adopted a fission-fusion system. Spending short times in sub-groups, the complete group was still maintained as a family led by the silverback male. Overall, there was an immediate decrease in the amount of aggressive behavior and frequency of incidents initiated by Asha while the cohesiveness of the family group was preserved.
1:40-2:00- THE WATERING W"HOLE" EXPERIENCE: TRAINING MULTIPLE SPECIES TO TELL A CONSERVATION STORY by Stephanie Shop, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
The Watering Hole in the Heart of Africa at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a unique exhibit where guests can stop throughout the day and watch multiple African species actively using the space around them. While this alone draws in a lot of visitors, there is no denying that the most popular moments at the Watering Hole are the cheetah runs. Though guests come for the “cheetah run,” what they see is a cohesive story showing multiple levels of the African ecosystem through the use of additional species. In an effort to take our guests on an African safari, we begin with a prey species (warthogs) grazing and conclude with scavengers (black-backed jackals) cleaning up anything that might have been left behind. Our interspecies cheetah runs demonstrates that the African savanna is not only about apex predators like the cheetah, but instead about the many species that exist and function cohesively to make a complex ecosystem. As the guests are watching this story unfold, we interject with our conservation message and educate guests about how they can help both now and in the future. This paper will focus on what goes on behind- the-scenes and underneath our guests’ feet to make the experience come together; the methods involved in shifting and training behaviors that help us engage guests and help spread our conservation story.
2:00-2:20- SENIOR LIVING: THE CHALLENGES OF WORKING WITH GERIATRIC, BLIND, CRITICALLY ENDANGERED PINNIPEDS by Noel Buurman, Minnesota Zoo
Five visually impaired or otherwise compromised, twenty-year old, female, Hawaiian monk seals (Neomonachus schauinslandi) arrived at the Minnesota Zoo in May 2015. With them came a unique set of challenges created from their age, visual impairments, medical concerns, and natural history of the animal. The Minnesota Zoo’s marine mammals staff was further challenged by a newly modified habitat space and with how to create educational opportunities as designated by their permitting. Over the last two years, the Minnesota Zoo’s marine mammals training team have worked closely with each other and experts in the field to better understand the seals and support their care. Staff have worked to accommodate each animal's individual behavioral needs which have included start of session locations, medical behaviors, and end of session signals while being mindful of each seals’ behavioral history. These training initiatives and experiences have been applied in the seals’ daily care, to establish training goals and during daily public demonstrations. Through these public training demonstrations staff have successfully bridged an 1,800 mile gap between Hawaii and Minnesota to bring the message of Hawaiian monk seal conservation to the forefront of the Minnesota Zoo’s mission.
2:40-3:00- LET'S GET PHYSICAL: PHYSICAL THERAPY TRAINING FOR TWO OTTERS WITH METABOLIC BONE DISEASE by Christine Montgomery, Downtown Aquarium Denver
In 2016, the Downtown Aquarium Denver received 0.2 North American river otter pups. These pups were orphaned from their mother at only a few weeks old. As they grew, their gait was observed as abnormal. After labs and X-rays, it was determined that they were suffering from metabolic bone disease. Once the otters arrived in our care, we began to format their care to allow them properly heal and grow. We began working with an animal physical therapist and orthopedic surgeon veterinarian. We devised various exercises that would strengthen their muscles, thus helping their bones grow stronger and straighter. We trained exercises to support their legs in a “normal” position, strengthen core muscles and teach them to pull their legs from a splayed position to an upright position. We currently train them six times a day on their physical therapy circuit. All the training is done through free contact. We train them to run a treadmill, pivots, back up, run in a chute and wobble logs. We are also training medical behaviors to assist with their immobilizations for X-rays. These include voluntary injection and voluntary inhalation of anesthesia. Each subsequent X-ray we take shows more bone density and the bones are correcting by growing straighter. We are learning more about their conformation at each immobilization and that allows us to create exercises tailored precisely to their needs. Their physical therapy elevates cooperate healthcare training to a whole new level of preventative and medical management for our otters.
3:00-3:20- EVERY SUCCESSFUL BRIDGE STARTS WITH A SOLID FOUNDATION by Jeremy Dillon, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has a very unique way of bridging the gap between the conservation messages we want our guests to discover and showcasing our animals amazing abilities. This is most apparent in our natural behavior shows where you might see a leopard attacking a fake prey item or a goat showing off its amazing climbing abilities all in their own exhibit! However, none of this would be remotely possible without a solid Animal behavior program to set the foundation for all of this amazing work. Part of this foundation is built from the comprehensive training and mentorship program designed to develop the entire keeper staff into solid behaviorists. This presentation will share the successes that we have developed with our program including details about our in-house training workshops and our peer trainer mentorship program.
3:20-3:40- USING RADIO FREQUENCY IDENTIFICATION (RFID) TAGS TO MEASURE SWIMMING BEHAVIOR IN LITTLE BLUE PENGUINS WHILE MONITORING THE TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF BUMBLEFOOT (PODODERMATITIS) by Rickey Kinley, Kathryn Kalafut Ph.D; Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Antioch College
Bumblefoot, or pododermatitis, is the inflammation of the foot caused by an initial infected site in connection with pressure necrosis (AZA Penguin Husbandry Manual, 2003). Factors that have been related to the prevalence of bumblefoot in penguins have included sex, weight, enclosure substrate and behavioral factors (Erlacher-Reid, et al. 2012; Reisfield, et al, 2013). The purpose of this research is to quantify the behavioral changes necessary to reduce, prevent, and potentially eliminate bumblefoot from the little blue penguin colony housed at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Radio-frequency identification technology is implemented in order to collect the continuous and instances of swimming behavior for each individual penguin. Bumblefoot severity in the little blue penguin colony is measured during baseline and across multiple treatments that involved behavioral and environmental enrichment. Results are pending.
3:40-4:00- BACK TO BASICS: APPLYING ENRICHMENT AND TRAINING TO SMALL PETS by Elizabeth Durkin, Dobbies Garden Centre/Edinburgh Zoo
In 2016, there were an estimated 1 million pet rabbits, 0.7 million pet guinea pigs and 0.4 million pet hamsters in the United Kingdom. With the pet shop being the most popular place to purchase these pets, it is evident that pet shops have a fundamental role in educating pet owners on correct animal care, including leading by example. This education is of key significance, considering the rabbit is one of the most neglected pets in the United Kingdom. Beyond basic husbandry, enrichment is a key element to improving welfare, with opportunities to provide mental and physical stimulation. Dobbies Garden Centre incorporated shop-bought and recycled enrichment into daily husbandry, and uses these examples to educate and inspire pet owners on providing opportunities for their pets to perform natural behaviours. The introduction of treat balls, cardboard boxes, paper bags and tubes has shown to enrich the animals’ lives in the pet shop and can reduce “problem behaviours” through promoting natural behaviours. Additionally, training and enrichment encourages pet owners and children to play a more active role in improving the welfare of their pet, and enjoy their pet more, due to increased activity. This presentation will also consider how positive reinforcement training can improve handling, and reduce stress associated with husbandry and veterinary care for small pets, as this is often overlooked. It is hoped to collaborate with welfare organisations in the future, to provide more information for pet owners with regard to improving small pet welfare through enrichment and training.
4:20-5:10- RESEARCH AND EVALUATION WORKSHOP: ENRICHMENT SAFETY PART 1 by Heidi Hellmuth
Do either of these sound familiar? Aaaaah, I’m sure it’ll be OK, they’ve never hurt themselves on things like this before. Or, no, we can’t possibly try that, there’s a chance that something could go wrong! Instead of the two extremes of ignoring risk, or being afraid of any risk at all, this workshop helps to look at enrichment safety more objectively. In this interactive session, we will review some of the important aspects of enrichment safety, and then demonstrate a tool to take you step by step through a process to assess potential enrichment risks, look at ways to mitigate the risks identified, and then to evaluate any remaining risks to make an informed decision about the safety of an enrichment device or strategy.
Monday concludes with Career Night at the hotel.
Tuesday, 25 April
Site visit to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Transportation and food provided.
7pm-9pm- Tuesday concludes with the Silent Auction at the hotel- hors d’oeuvres provided.
Wednesday, 26 April
8:10-10:10- SHAPE OF ENRICHMENT WORKSHOP
10:30-12:00- SHAPE OF ENRICHMENT WORKSHOP
1:00-2:10- SHAPE OF ENRICHMENT WORKSHOP
2:10-2:30- MOTHER NATURE AS A (DE)MOTIVATOR FINESSING MOTIVATION THROUGH WEATHER AND SEASONAL CHANGES by Jessica Larios, Minnesota Zoo
The Close Encounters department at the Minnesota Zoo facilitates a variety of programs with animal ambassadors throughout the Zoo. Additionally, we collaborate with other departments to develop and progress training initiatives with animals in their areas. The Close Encounter’s collection recently moved to a new space with visual access to natural light and weather patterns which has created wonderful natural enrichment for the animals. However, we have found ourselves battling Mother Nature as the exposure to natural elements has effected the motivation of our animals due to their natural response to seasonal changes. To maintain behavior and progress our animal’s training, we have implemented the use a variety of techniques. These approaches include more variable timing of feeds, variable length of sessions, diet adjustments, encouraging other biological needs as motivators, finding new types of reinforcement and daily changes in environment to influence and increase motivation. These techniques as well as a lot of trainer patience and flexibility, have helped to keep our animals on track. Conversely, other species we work with (such as our moose) thrive in the cold so their motivation spikes in the winter allowing staff to capitalize on their high motivation. This paper will discuss in detail what has worked and what hasn't worked to finesse techniques to combat weather and seasonal changes to keep animals motivated throughout the year.
2:30-2:50- POLAR BEAR CONSERVATION TRAINING AT THE OREGON ZOO by Sara Morgan, Amy Cutting, Nicole Nicassio, Amy Hash, Robert Draughon, Jen DeGroot; Oregon Zoo
In 2008, the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) was classified as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Given the impending climate change crisis facing wild bears, zoos are striving to not just manage their collection, but also to use cooperative voluntary training, or conservation training, to help better understand the impact of a warming Arctic on their wild counterparts. After a successful voluntary blood draw from 1.1 polar bears at the Oregon Zoo in 2012, a researcher from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) asked us to participate in a nutritional ecology project. This development of a new technique for studying wild bears required adjusting the bears’ diets and obtaining frequent voluntary blood and hair samples to determine how certain isotopes in a bear’s diet are incorporated into their tissues. This successful collaboration led to an additional project with the USGS Alaska Science Center. That relationship developed into an ongoing energetics research collaboration with the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) and USGS. Thus far, this research has included training a 0.1 polar bear to wear a satellite collar, walk on a treadmill, and swim inside a metabolic chamber. We are excited about improving animal welfare through cognitive challenges and at the same time gaining a better understanding of the effects of declining Arctic sea ice on bear behavior. Looking forward, the Oregon Zoo will continue to support conservation research as the organization develops and builds a new polar bear habit for the next generation of polar bears.
2:50-3:10- CO-REARING OF ANIMAL AMBASSADORS FOR EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS AND INCREASED ANIMAL WELFARE by Nicki Boyd, Clint Lusardi & Kym Janke; San Diego Zoo
The relationship between a trainer and an animal ambassador is one of the most important factors of a successful ambassador program. This relationship allows a lot of the operant conditioning we rely on to take place. Because of this, animal ambassadors have traditionally been hand raised by their human care takers. While zoological institutions have dedicated much research and expertise to developing and refining formula composition and hand rearing techniques, animal care professionals have begun to question if welfare could be improved by allowing the ambassadors to be raised by their mother. In recent years ambassador programs have been a focal topic of many professional zoological organizations including the AZA. Specifically the Ambassador Animal Scientific Advisory Group seeks to improve welfare within the ambassador community and explore ways education and research can contribute to animal handling and management standards. One of the ways San Diego Zoo has addressed this movement and proven their dedication to advancing the highest level of care is through the co-rearing of ambassador animals alongside their mothers. Linnaeus two-toed sloth, African serval, and Rock hyrax are all species that have been raised while living with their mothers and receiving daily visits from animal care staff. This process has shown that positive relationships, powerful educational messages and successful animal programs can result while neonates receive the balanced nutrition of their mother’s milk and the socialization of conspecifics. The results have been confident animal ambassadors willing to work with a large and diverse group of trainers and handlers.
3:30-3:50- IMPROVE ANIMAL WELFARE IN ALOUATTA CARAYA FROM ILLEGAL TRAFFIC by Maria Florencia Presa, Temaikèn Foundation
A promotional campaign, about the fight against illegal traffic with monkeys, was carried out in Temaikèn Foundation during winter season last year. Because of this, seventeen monkeys with different issues were brought to the biopark from confiscation or donation. Abnormal behaviors as self-mutilation, eating disorder, malnutrition, absence of teeth were only a sample of the distress displayed by the monkeys. Consequently, a specific rehabilitation program was developed. Its purpose was to improve their health, nutrition and behavior through medical treatment, building same species social groups, providing enrichment and training, and the opportunity of a forage plan as a principal behavior of this species. As a result, monkeys transitioned from being a Pet wearing sleeping clothes to sleeping on branches, they stopped eating homemade food and began eating vegetation. During the first days of process the animals remain very scared, quit and shy. The biggest challenges were the change of diet and help them overcome the absence of contact with their previous “owners”. Today, they are able to live in social groups, reproduce and live in an environment covered with vegetation; vocalizations are a display of change as well. Animal Welfare is an ongoing process, and the commitment of those who work with animals under human care is to increase high standards of well-being through proactive programs.
3:50-4:10- A TALE OF A TAIL: CHOICE AND CONTROL WITH A MALE LION by Amanda Ista, Milwaukee County Zoo
Providing choice and control is a basic building block to providing optimal welfare for animals in captivity. Giving animals the option to participate in training but also decide on their own terms when they are comfortable being touched or moving the behavior to the next step can instill a level of confidence that will grow exponentially. Our male lion, Themba, once labeled as aggressive and uncooperative, spent the early years of his life being tricked into shifting and pan fed with little keeper interaction. By giving him control over his environment and choice to be in holding or on exhibit at night, keepers started to slowly gain his trust. As this trust grew, keepers were able to get him on a scale and work as a team for more advanced behaviors such as injections and tail treatment. Once again keepers employed choice and control to train Themba to give his tail as opposed to keepers hooking his tail out. When given this option, the behavior not only solidified but also gave him the confidence to trust veterinarians and to begin to approach strangers during tours, two things that keepers have not seen in the last four years. His tail tip, which had been broken open and bled intermittently when he would whip it around, was treated daily and finally healed after years of not being able to treat it and he now thrives on keeper interaction. By employing basic behavior modification techniques, keepers were able to greatly improve Themba’s welfare.
4:10-4:30- CHALLENGES OF TARGET TRAINING A BLUE-TONGUED SKINK FOR GUEST PRESENTATIONS AT THE NATIONAL AQUARIUM by Kristen Frizzell, National Aquarium
There are always going to be challenges and obstacles when training animals. It’s important to keep in mind there are numerous ways to train a behavior. Often times when we are faced with difficulties, we find ourselves cutting back on training or putting the behavior on the back burner only to never go back to it. However, persistence in training can lead to a more successful outcome. A blue-tongued skink at the National Aquarium provided such a challenge when learning a tongue- to -target behavior. In order to achieve the desired behavior, the trainer broke down each obstacle and restructured the training plan. With determination, consistency and practice the skink learned to touch his tongue to a target. This behavior was then incorporated into animal presentations to engage and connect our guests. The National Aquarium has developed presentations specifically for teaching guests that all animals have cognition and can learn. In turn, we hope this inspires our guests to better care for animals, formulate positive relationships with them, and initiate conservation efforts. These trained behaviors are important for not only cognitive stimulation but may be useful to help bridge the gap between training and conservation.
4:30-4:50- CONNECTING THE ‘SPOTS’ BETWEEN VISITORS AND CHEETAHS WITH COMPANION DOGS by Kaylee Maple, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
With the recent recommendation for uplisting of the African cheetah to “endangered”, it is clear that educating zoo guests about cheetahs is crucial to increasing awareness and encouraging conservation-based actions (Durant et al., 2016). Pairing cheetahs with domestic dogs can be seen at multiple zoos across the country. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium uses the cheetah and dog friendship to give the cheetahs confidence while connecting people with wildlife as an Animal Programs ambassador. We saw the potential for our dogs to be more than a companion animal to our cheetahs; the dogs convey a message for cheetah conservation with the way groups, like the Cheetah Conservation Fund, are utilizing dogs to save cheetahs in Africa. In our Heart of Africa region our dogs show off their speed chasing the lure, just like their cheetahs, in our rotational Watering Hole exhibit. After winning the crowd over, the dogs are trained to bring the lure to the presenter and follow them to the public pathway where they station in front of the cheetah habitat to interact with guests. There, volunteers are waiting with cheetah bracelets and pins in exchange for donations to conservation. Allowing the dogs to connect with guests increased donations compared to previous years. With guests in Heart of Africa more frequently asking “when will the dogs be out?”, we are confident we are forging a deeper connection and understanding between zoo visitors and cheetah conservation.
4:50-5:10- THE EFFECT OF A NOVEL ENRICHMENT DEVICE ON THE TERRITORIES, SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND BEHAVIOR OF AFRICAN GREY PARROTS (Psittacus erithacus) by Joanna Berger, The Animal Behavior Consultancy, Graduate of the University of Edinbrugh
This study investigated the effect of an enrichment device (a metal tray containing bark chips) on the behavior, territories, and social organization of a group of 47 African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) in a naturalistic aviary. This study's aims were to: (1) Describe behaviors performed by the parrots at ground-level; (2) Ascertain whether parrots have ground-level territories; (3) Analyse the effect of provision of an enrichment device on individual parrots and on the the group; and (4) Assess whether enrichment provision causes disruption to social structure and parrot territories. Baseline observations of parrot locations were used to map territories. The enrichment device was then placed on the ground in different territories and behaviours and locations of parrots were recorded. It was found that: (1) Nearly half of the parrots performed digging, locomotory, mulch-chewing, foraging, and social behaviors at ground-level; (2) one individual performed more inactive behavior (sleeping, standing, autogrooming) during baseline than when enrichment was present, P=0.046, two-tailed randomization test; (3) The enrichment device appeared to increase foraging behavior of three individuals but not of the group; and (4) the social network and territories were generally stable over time, but enrichment provision had a local effect on the size of two territories. Social dynamics and territoriality limit the welfare benefits of a single enrichment item, so providing enrichment items within each territory is recommended to prevent social distress and increase resource access.
5:10-5:30- Committee meetings- anyone on a committee or interested in joining a committee can attend. This is a great way to get more involved in the organization!
5:30-6:60- Program Council- The meeting of the committee chairs. This meeting is open to everyone.
Thursday, 27 April
Site visit to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium! Transportation and food provided. Poster night will be here too.
TRAINING A CLOUDED LEOPARD TO ACCEPT DAILY SUB-CUTANEOUS FLUIDS by Laura Carpenter, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Early in 2016, the veterinarian came to us and told us that our clouded leopard (neofelis nebulosa) needed to get sub-cutaneous fluids several times a week in able to help slow the deterioration of her kidneys. He asked if it would be less stressful for her to be netted every time or if we could train her to let us do it without a net. We decided that it would be better to train her to accept fluids without a net. This poster will outline the planning and many steps that were necessary to get our clouded leopard to go into a small box with mesh on the top and allow the vet techs to administer fluids to her four times a week. I will show how we designed to box and how we trained her to go into it , as well as getting her used to new people coming into her enclosure and allowing them to touch her. Also, all the setbacks we incurred. This way others who would like to try to use this technique to be able to administer fluids in this way, can learn from our mistakes and our successes. I think that this is a procedure that would be helpful for many animals in many different institutions. I am very happy with the results and would like to share this with others who could benefit from it.
RESHAPING AN ESTABLISHED BEHAVIOR IN A GERIATRIC CALIFORNIA SEA LION by Cheyenne Cash, The Aquarium at Moody Gardens
Dino, a 21 year old California sea lion, lived at Moody Gardens in Galveston, TX from May 2010 through October 2016. His established “recall” was to shift into a holding room when he heard two long whistle blasts. However, there were some flaws in this behavior. There were many secondary cues given that would allow him to anticipate the recall instead of the recall being prompted by two long whistle blasts. As a new member of the team, I asked if I could reshape this behavior into a true recall, and eliminate all of the secondary factors that he would cue off of. However, reworking this behavior came with many challenges. Dino was an older male who did well with routine and got excited with any changes. Since he had this behavior established for over 5 years, reshaping this behavior started out with changing small factors as not to overwhelm him. As a large male, I also had to consider and work around his rut and molting periods. Coming in as a new team member and wanting to reshape an established behavior lead to some friction of personalities amongst the team and varying opinions on the matter. However, his primary trainer and myself were able to agree on a recall schedule with the appropriate variations for the different stages of reshaping this behavior. Before his passing in October 2016, we had made great progress on modifying this established behavior over time and I believe this progress would have continued.
TRAINING 0.2 OSTRICH FOR AN ANNUAL EXAM by Dan Turoczi, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
In June of 2014 the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens received two female Ostrich for the brand new African Savanna exhibit. It was decided early on to establish a training program with these birds to make managing them less stressful on all involved. Keepers worked with vet staff to determine what behaviors would be most useful from both an animal management and veterinary stand point, and it was decided to train the birds to voluntarily participate in a full annual exam. The behaviors that were decided upon were blood draw, injection, touch, wing manipulation, tail manipulation, stethoscope, and scale. Our Ostrich each have very different personalities which led us to utilize different strategies for training each bird. Our larger female, “Rose,” was very friendly and pushy when she arrived. As a result, we had to teach her how to appropriately interact with keepers during training sessions. Our smaller female, “Pam,” was very warry of keepers, so building trust was a top priority with her. Once we found a type of reinforcer and delivery method that worked for both birds we started making steady progress with their training. The Africa team worked with the vet staff and training consultant over a two-year period to successfully train both birds to participate in all of the decided upon behaviors.
THE IMPORTANCE OF 'TRAINING' PEOPLE TO PROTECT NATURAL WARM WATER SITES FOR MANATEE HEALTH AND CONSERVATION by Jennifer Saxby, USGS (Volunteer-Sirenia Project)
The Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) is a sub-tropical species, with Florida representing the northern limit to its winter range. With a critical lower temperature of 68ºF, and no ability to thermo-regulate, during winter months the manatee must seek out warm water habitats. These consist of both natural and artificial sites (discharges from power plants). With the uncertain future of artificial warm water sites, and the better habitat provided by natural sites, the importance of natural springs is increasingly critical to manatee conservation. Cold-stress is one of the leading, non-human, causes of mortality in Florida manatees. Juveniles are particularly at risk, not having the experience to seek out warm water sites. The maintenance of warm water sites is vital for manatee health, particularly in years of extreme cold. The most important natural warm water sites for manatees include the springs at Crystal and Homosassa Rivers and Blue Springs. Manatee use of Blue Springs has increased 8% per year in the last 28 years. Reduction in springs flow has an effect on the ambient temperature of the water, carrying capacity and suitability of the habitat. The importance of the health of the springs, and its correlation to the health of the ecosystems it supports, should be addressed. We need a multi agency approach that protects the ecosystem as a whole. Educational tools can be utilized to target people who are passionate about the springs and those passionate about other aspects of the ecosystem such as the beloved manatee.
USE OF CAGEFRONT VERANDAS BY CYNOMOLGUS MACAQUES by Sue Rubino, Pfizer, Inc.
Typical nonhuman primate quad caging consists of a mobile unit of four cages stacked two over two. As an option to improve animal welfare, several manufacturers offer small, box style devices that can be added to the front of the individual cages. They are referred to as verandas, porches, or viewing boxes. Verandas are enrichment devices with a primary purpose of increasing an animal’s visual access within the room. This creates additional opportunities for social interactions with conspecifics and may improve access to visual enrichment in the room. They also increases floor space, caging complexity, and provide an opportunity for greater light penetration for animals housed in bottom-tier cages. Verandas have been in use for several years in the animal facility at Pfizer. The aim of this study is to evaluate what percentage of an animal’s activity budget is spent in the veranda. Twelve mature male cynomolgus macaques were monitored 24 hours /day for four days via a remote camera system. The results and discussion will focus on the pattern and duration of use by the observed animals and how that impacts management decisions for veranda use in an enrichment program.
FORGIVING WHAT CANNOT BE FORGOTTEN by Nora Bierne, Central Park Zoo
The basis of any successful relationship is trust. In zookeeping, this concept revolutionized the industry. However, while practices of positive reinforcement replace antiquated techniques, the negative memories of past experiences are difficult for some species to forget. So while our tactics are changing, we must ask the question: can animals learn to forgive what they cannot forget? At Central Park Zoo, our task was to initiate a training program for 1.5 Japanese macaques with the eventual goal of a voluntary injection behavior. However, because these individuals associated keepers with negativity, isolation with being forced into a squeeze cage, and syringes with fear, rebuilding trust was our first hurdle. Initial steps required identifying suitable pairs for buddy training to eliminate separation distress with minimal con-specific aggression. Daily five-minute cooperative feeding sessions had all monkeys participating in two weeks. Once pairs were approaching keepers, simple targeting behaviors were used to build their confidence. After a month, injection training began through approximations: first capturing a hip present, then pairing it with progressive tactiles — a touch with a finger, then a syringe, next a paperclip syringe, and lastly a needle. In ten months’ time, we were able to administer annual vaccinations to a troupe of previously fearful macaques voluntarily, thus eliminating unnecessary stress and continued negative associations with keepers. Additionally, all individuals now actively seek out training opportunities, are easily separated, and display less aggression. This exceeded our initial goals, but demonstrates how far one can progress when trust issues are addressed.
A TALE OF TWO BINTURONGS: SEPARATE HAND REARING AND USE OF PALAWAN BINTURONG LITTERMATES AS AMBASSADOR ANIMALS by Jake Belair & Hardy Kern, Nashville Zoo, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
Ambassador animals in zoological institutions have become vital elements of conservation messaging and important partners for interpretation. It has been shown that animals presented in educational settings by handlers prompt 69% more cognitive responses from visitors than animals in a traditional setting (Povey and Rios, 2002). The Nashville Zoo had the first birth of Palawan binturongs (Arctictis binturong whitei) in the United States in November of 2015. The two offspring were separately hand-reared by experienced ambassador animal keepers at the Nashville Zoo and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Though there were differences in hand-rearing protocols, training regimens, handling policies, and numbers of staff interacting with the individuals, both have proven to be effective ambassador animals for the institutions. Extensive communication between the institutions allowed knowledge to be shared and helped establish best practices in hand-rearing for this little-known species. We hope for this paper and presentation to be a resource for institutions looking to add this species to their collection. Smaller in size than their cousins (Arctictis binturong), Palawan binturongs are easier to physically handle and easier to house for facilities with less space. Endemic to tropical rainforests in the Philippines (MacDonald 2009), this species provides opportunities to educate zoo guests about conservation issues including deforestation, climate change, and unsustainable harvesting of palm oil, through personal interactions. The shared experience of raising “Templeton” and “Wilbur” has affirmed a promising future for these two animals as effective ambassadors.
STIMULATING NATURAL BEHAVIOR AND PROMOTING CONSERVATION OF THE PYGMY LORIS AT THE COLUMBUS ZOO AND AQUARIUM by Fred Nicklaus, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
Over the years, the many benefits of a solid operant conditioning program has been well documented. Active and consistent training can dramatically reduce the amount of time an animal needs to be sedated for a medical procedure. Animal welfare of animals in a zoo setting can be improved through keeper interactions and training (Hosey and Melfi, 2014). At the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, target training is used to assess health, weigh animals, get them to station to a specific area, and check the estrogen cycle of Pygmy Loris females to determine when they are ready to mate with the male. Once new Loris’ become accustomed to training, they scurry down to the lower level of the exhibit when a keeper enters the enclosure. Positive reinforcement through training and unpredictable feeding schedules will reduce agitation and pacing in animals (Hosey, 2004). After training is complete, the Loris’ activity level increases. They utilize the exhibit more and they exhibit more naturalistic behavior. Training not only benefits the animals medically, but it stimulates their brains, and zoo guests are able to see them in their natural state. The breeding of the Pygmy Loris is vital to the conservation of the species. When training is used with Loris’s, they become more familiar and relaxed with their keepers. When Loris’s are more relaxed, breeding activity is more likely to occur. When guests see the Loris’s active, they are more likely to participate or donate to the conservation of the species. Training stimulated our lorises at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to utilize their exhibit. The animals were easier to manage in a zoo setting and it aided in the conservation of the species.
ENCOURAGING GENTOO PENGUINS TO PAIR BOND FOR SUCCESSFUL BREEDING by Deanna DeRosa, Kansas City Zoo
The Kansas City Zoo’s Gentoo colony includes 2.8 Pygocelis Papua Papua with a few pairings that are recommended for breeding. From 2004-2016 the Gentoo Penguin was considered a near threatened species by the IUCN Redlist. Although, no action for reintroduction is necessary for the species currently, the zoo finds importance in increasing our captive population for research and educational purposes. In 2014, we attempted to encourage our two males to bond with suggested females by moving them off exhibit, each pair in one holding. After four weeks, the penguins went back on exhibit but both males found different mates. In July 2016, we pulled a highly-recommended pair, Kevin and Fiona, off exhibit to encourage pair bonding. This pair stayed off exhibit for just over 2 full months until the beginning of nesting season and the addition of adequate nesting material. At the same time, we removed the penguins that Kevin and Fiona were pair bonded to the previous year. Courtship behavior was observed between Kevin and Fiona, proving bonding success. On December 20, Kevin and Fiona’s first egg was externally pipped. By the next morning, the chick was completely hatched. The previous year’s mates were being nuisances to the nest site and parents. Those penguins were removed from exhibit because they were preventing the chick to grow properly. Following the removal of those nuisance females, the chick gained 50g overnight. Currently, the chick is bright, alert, and gaining weight rapidly as it should be at this early age.
TACTILE TRAINING WITH AARDWOLVES: BUILDING TRUST THROUGH POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT by Ronda Planck & Danielle Holste, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens
A time commitment to positive reinforcement accomplished goals not only for training, but the animal welfare of our aardwolves (Proteles cristatus). A husbandry need arose due to food aggression between our male and female aardwolf. Behavior modification through operant conditioning was the path to remedy this situation and improve the quality of life for these animals. This was a challenging project because of the skittish and guarded nature of the species. Crate training is an essential part of husbandry as well as beneficial for medical purposes and was a logical place to start. Positive training showed benefits on many different levels from the start and we began to see changes in their behavior and a level of trust that previously didn’t exist. A medical need put our training to the test. Bite wounds, inflicted by the female, started to appear on the male. Anesthetizing the animals repeatedly to evaluate these wounds was not the right option. During a routine examination, veterinary staff were able to determine that the bite wounds were superficial, but needed to be monitored for the possibility of infection. The positive foundation and months of training lead to the aardwolves allowing and trusting us to do body inspections including any areas of concern in a way that is safe for keepers and animals. Tactile training is an essential part of their ongoing care now as well as our ability to take high quality photos and videos to share with our vets and curators to monitor the situation.
Giraffe Training by Samantha Frohlich & Sheri Smith, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
Giraffe Training is a very important focus for our keepers at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Through the talent and dedication of our Keepers we are able to perform many behaviors, from presenting their hooves for hoof trims to collecting radiographs. One of our main focuses had been on blood collection. Through many trial and errors we have been able to come up with a method of collection that is less invasive and more reliable, leading to improved animal welfare. Keepers will highlight their methods and the road that lead them to success.
Lion & Tiger Training by Heather Sinn & Christy Nuss, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
Over the past two years we have had multiple litters of Lions and Tigers born at the Columbus Zoo. All have been mother-reared, but our management with the cubs has evolved. Through early exposure to training sessions and hands on keeper interactions we have developed an increase in tractability and reduced stress levels with the individuals. Through these practices we have also increased the safety and their overall health. Keepers will showcase the process and development of these programs.
Friday, 28 April
8:10-8:30- STRENGTHENING CONNECTIONS BETWEEN FIELD CONSERVATION PROJECTS AND ZOO AMBASSADOR EFFORTS by Craig Bickel, Busch Gardens Tampa
The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund since its inception in 2003 has been able to support over 1,000 conservation projects in 70 countries. Representatives from the SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and Discovery Cove parks have traveled to these projects to work with and support the conservation efforts being done in the field. This presentation will highlight some of the ways that we have incorporated the knowledge that our animal care specialists gained from their travels into the daily care of our animal collection. The information we have been able to bring back home to our parks has been a huge success in two major areas. The first area we saw an impact in was increasing the variety of animal enrichment through food options and physical environmental changes. Food options were added or modified to include new or more native food and also to create a more natural way of obtaining those food items. Many of the physical enrichment changes were to create a more natural environment and the ability for more natural movement within the animal’s environment. The second area that we saw a huge impact in was the increased ability to relay information to our guests as well as our fellow keepers. The detailed information about specific animal species and how they exist in wild, face ongoing challenges and how we can help and conserve them was invaluable.
8:30-8:50- HOW MANY TRAINERS IS TOO MANY? MANAGING BEHAVIOR OF EDUCATION RAPTORS WITH 45 TRAINERS by Daniel Hnilicka, The Raptor Center – University of Minnesota
How many trainers is too many to work with an animal? 2? 5? 10? 45? At The University of Minnesota Raptor Center, we have 30 education birds and each bird has anywhere from 1-45 handlers/trainers. Our handlers range from full time staff with 30 years of training experience to volunteers learning to handle raptors for the first time. Similarly, our education birds have a wide range of experience and behavior fluency. Some birds are trained for educational programming on the glove, some are trained mainly for display, and some are trained for both. Due to the many variables of our education department, we are always trying to set both animal and handler/trainer up for success. This paper will cover how The University of Minnesota Raptor Center manages its layered behavior management system, maintains behavior of both handlers and birds, and utilizes our diverse trainers to help educate the public on raptors and conservation.
8:50-9:10- CHOICE-BASED TRAINING IMPROVES ANIMAL WELFARE AND PROGRAM PARTICIPATION IN AMBASSADOR ANIMALS by Sarah Dugger and Stefanie Keshock, Denver Zoo
Animal ambassador keepers often face pressure to meet program needs that can lead to adverse behaviors within the collection for which they care. When an animal has no choice but to participate, responses sometimes emerge including learned helplessness, aggression and escape or avoidance. However, animals in programs greatly improve our ability to reach audiences with conservation based messaging. With choice-based training, a strategy that allows animals a voice in their level and quality of participation, keepers are able to not only meet the program needs but also increase their animals’ welfare. Keepers at the Denver Zoo observed behavior change in multiple species within the Animal Ambassadors collection after taking a step back and modifying their approach to their program participation. Three case studies will be presented: A prehensile-tailed skink that was biting the glove, a fennec fox who fled from keepers, and a Patagonian cavy who was uncomfortable with keeper interaction. The specific roadblocks, discussions and strategies employed will be discussed, as well as application of the concepts to other animals in the collection. Through increased participation of these ambassadors, Denver Zoo is able to provide quality programming for conservation messaging while optimizing our animals’ welfare.
9:10-9:30- HOW THE RESULTS OF A PILOT STUDY OF CAPTIVE AZA ORANGUTAN PREFERENCE CAN INFORM THE CARE, TRAINING, AND FUTURE CONSERVATION OF ORANGUTANS by Shelly Donohue, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
It is well known that the orangutan is adapted to life in the trees. It is the largest living arboreal mammal and it is critically endangered primarily due to habitat loss and wildfires. This is largely in part due the palm oil industry which is an incredibly lucrative crop that covers millions of acres of land in Indonesia and Sumatra where wild orangutans reside. With this in mind, I conducted an interview based pilot study in 2015 to better understand captive orangutans’ preference for the different vertical structures in their zoo exhibits. The goal of this study was to gain a better understanding of captive orangutan preference so as to increase our knowledge of how to provide the best care for captive orangutans. The results of this study were slightly different from my hypothesis which was based on the natural behaviors of wild orangutans. This paper will discuss how the results of my pilot study can be utilized to inform the care and training of captive orangutans, future studies, and the possible reintroduction of captive individuals in the future.
9:30-9:50- ENGAGING THE PUBLIC AND ANIMALS ALIKE: INNOVATIVE TRAINING OF THE BARNYARD INHABITANTS AT SANTA BARBARA ZOO by Melanie Baudour, Santa Barbara Zoo
Domestics are an important part of many zoos. They can engage our youngest visitors when the rest of the zoo may still be a bit overwhelming. However, can they do more? Utilizing the barnyard animals and guests together, Santa Barbara Zoo has recently expanded the role of training. This last summer, zoo campers, with one on one guidance from a keeper, practiced reading the body language of animals and reinforced desired behaviors. They conducted a variety of husbandry based activities including giving a practice vaccination to Guinea hogs and luring a single sheep or goat from the main yard to step onto a scale in the side yard. With the passing of summer, the methods utilized during zoo camp are still being practiced with the general public. Thus far feedback has been positive. The barnyard animals are at the zoo regardless, with the ability to be a free contact experience, can they provide resonating hands on learning? Shaping kids and adults alike, can we give them ideas that they can retry with their own pets at home, possibly improving animal welfare beyond zoo grounds?
9:50-10:10- BUILDING EXPERTISE: SOMETHING TO ASPIRE TO BY Steve Martin, Natural Encounters, Inc.
Think of a trainer you recognize as an expert. Now, think of the characteristics that inspire you to call that person an expert. It is the person's knowledge, skills, charisma, confidence, reputation or ... something else? The presentation will operationalize some of the most important characteristics that animal trainers exhibit who achieve the status of expert in our field.
10:30-10:50- A LITTLE BIT OF COUNTRY- RADIO CHOICE FOR EQUINE ENRICHMENT BY Tara Gifford, Ohio Animal Training
Allowing animals choice in their environment is a prime component of animal welfare. Horses in human care commonly have few choices regarding their environment. What if the horses could choose to have the radio on or off? If a horse has been trained using operant conditioning to turn on a radio set to a country music station, how much time will he choose to have it on? In part A, seven horses were trained to push a panel which would turn on/off a local country music radio station. Each horse was video taped for 72 hours when the push panel activated the radio and 72 hours where the push panel resulted in no radio volume. 6 of the 7 horses had the radio playing for 43-64% of the time. In part B of the study, 2 horses had the choice to activate the push panel to hear a classical music. The horse that listened to country music for 58% of the time, listened to the classical music for 14% of the time. The second horse who did not turn the country music on at all, listened to the classical music for 61% of the time. This preliminary study indicates that these horses may have individual preferences regarding how much and when they choose to listen to music. The concept of teaching an animal to activate a radio, light, fan, water mister, etc., could have many applications to improve animal welfare by increasing their control over the environment.
10:50-11:10- BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN THEORY & PRACTICE: CURRENT RESEARCH ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LIVE-ANIMAL INTERACTIONS AND PRO-ENVIRONMENTAL BEHAVIOR CHANGE BY Nicolette Canzoneri, Oregon State University
This presentation seeks to contextualize current research in conservation education that targets programs in zoos and aquariums, with an emphasis on pro-environmental behavior change theory. As climate change and other environmental issues become increasingly more critical, the role zoos and aquariums play in educating the public also becomes critical. The majority of zoo and aquarium facilities in the United States dedicate their practice to conservation and conservation education in some capacity. Often these same facilities employ animal ambassadors to forge a connection between audience and animal, intending for this relationship to lead to some level of behavior change that supports conservation practices. The existing literature and research on this link is shaky at best, with little in the way of scientific support for such conclusions. My research is focused on bridging this gap, both theoretically as well as practically, to bring scientific support to education practices which utilize animals to communicate pro-environmental messages to the public. My presentation will summarize current and existing research that attempts to address these issues while providing support for my specific research questions. The review of current and existing research will include behavioral approaches and education theories, as well as studies such as “Why Zoos & Aquariums Matter: Assessing the Impact of a Visit to a Zoo or Aquarium” (Falk, et al., 2007). Additionally, my presentation will seek feedback from industry professionals and researchers to continue to improve my research and ensure its relevancy to the community in which it is intended to serve.
11:10-11:30- WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH YOUR MONKEY? by Jenyva Fox, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s (CMZ) staff is passionate about taking animal training to higher levels to improve the lives of the animals in their care. This includes out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to training basic husbandry behaviors or veterinary care techniques. Furthermore, our unique natural behavior shows inspire guests to become involved in conservation by connecting them to our incredible animals. One of CMZ’s original natural behavior shows features a troop of black and white colobus monkeys leaping through trees, balancing on ropes and even leaping straight towards mesmerized guests! A WOW Factor for sure! This show remains popular with guests each summer and allows zookeepers a great opportunity to weave in important, simple conservation messages, such as purchasing FSC-certified products. Our show continues to evolve as we observe the strengths of our monkeys and train new behaviors such as crossing over a “colobridge”. This behavior connects our guests to the challenges these animals face in the wild and how they can help them right at home. Our training with our colobus monkeys doesn’t stop at training natural behaviors for our shows, but continues into our day-to-day care. CMZ staff trained a basic crate behavior in a novel way to allow the monkeys more power during their crating session. The monkeys get to choose when they want the crate door closed, closing it themselves, even picking up their tails and bringing them inside first! We are proud of how eager our colobus monkeys are to train and engage with us as zookeepers and we firmly believe that this is through the power of positive reinforcement, allowing the animals to make choices and giving them fun opportunities to show off their strengths.
11:30-11:50- WOLF ANIMAL-ASSISTED THERAPY by Gaby Dufrense-Cyr, Dogue Shop / Park Safari
The human-dog relationship is well documented. Recent studies have demonstrated C. familiaris has the ability to interpret and understand human emotions (Udell, Dorey & Wynne, 2003 and Guo, Meints, Hall, Hall & Mills, 2009) which confirms humans and animals form attachments. The human-animal bond is documented in Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) literature (Fine, 2010) as an inter-species connection which has the potential to promote human physical and psychological health. Anxiety, autism, Alzheimer, and learning disabilities are some of the conditions improved with AAT programs. Furthermore, positive physical results include a reduction in blood pressure, heart rate, and triglyceride levels (Barker and Dawson, 1998). Potential negative outcomes of dog AAT programs are thought repression, cognitive distraction, and reduced empathy; consequently, prolonged dog AAT sessions can be expected. The creation and development of the wolf animal-assisted therapy (WAAT) pilot program serves to establish a positive attachment between participant and wolf in order to reduce the number of intervention sessions, increase communication skills, improve self-esteem, and enhance empathy. During sessions, participant perception of wolves as dangerous predators decreases; conversely, the empathy connection establishes the desire to protect wolves through conservation efforts. As discussed by Guo, Meints, Hall, & Mills (2009), wolf reactivity to humans diminishes with exposure. WAAT is the ultimate management, training, conservation, enrichment, and therapeutic program for both human and animal. This innovative program has the potential to reduce both wolf and human undesirable behaviours, develop effective management and training strategies, promote conservation efforts, and overall enrich each other’s lives.
1:10-1:40- RESEARCH AND EVALUATION WORKSHOP- ENRICHMENT SAFETY PART 2 by Heidi Hellmuth
Do either of these sound familiar? Aaaaah, I’m sure it’ll be OK, they’ve never hurt themselves on things like this before. Or, no, we can’t possibly try that, there’s a chance that something could go wrong! Instead of the two extremes of ignoring risk, or being afraid of any risk at all, this workshop helps to look at enrichment safety more objectively. In this interactive session, we will review some of the important aspects of enrichment safety, and then demonstrate a tool to take you step by step through a process to assess potential enrichment risks, look at ways to mitigate the risks identified, and then to evaluate any remaining risks to make an informed decision about the safety of an enrichment device or strategy.
1:40-2:00- VARIANCES IN BEHAVIORAL CONDITIONING OF RELEASABLE AND NON-RELEASABLE LAKE STURGEON (ACIPENSER FULVESCENS) by Zac Reynolds, SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium
Repopulating the threatened lake sturgeon into their native waters has been a focus of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources and local conservation groups. Through partnerships with the SEA LIFE Michigan aquarium, one juvenile lake sturgeon originating from a state hatchery will be conditioned to be introduced to Michigan’s waters. The releasable sturgeon is the recipient of an environmental enrichment plan focused on the introduction of environmental stimuli replicating the changing of seasons while reinforcing foraging behavior. The goal of this program is to prepare the juvenile lake sturgeon with the physical and mental wellbeing necessary to thrive to a reproductive age in Michigan’s waters and ultimately contribute to a diminished population. The releasable fish is housed in an exhibit in the aquarium’s classroom. While at SEA LIFE Michigan, the sturgeon is able to be the subject of educational workshops attended by local school groups. The behavioral conditioning of the releasable sturgeon differs from that of the aquarium’s resident (non-releasable) sturgeon. Unlike the releasable juvenile, the non-releasable sturgeon are trained to participate in their husbandry. They respond to a conditioned reinforcer as well as a vibrating target- stimulating their ampullae; one of their most powerful sensory modalities. On the contrary, the enrichment of the releasable sturgeon has an emphasis on the relationship between the animal and its environment. Data will be collected in regards to physical health. Additionally, observations will be conducted to determine if a change in behavior under varying environmental changes can be noted.
2:00-2:20- THE 10,000 POUND ELEPHANT IN THE E.R.D. TRAINING AN ADULT BULL ELEPHANT TO ALLOW CONTAINMENT IN AN ELEPHANT RESTRAINT DEVICE by Eric Duning, Rickey Kinley; Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden's bull Asian elephant, Sabu, is one of the most genetically valuable elephants in the country. He has no offspring and collecting semen from him is very important. To safely do this he needs to be secured in the Elephant Restraint Device (E.R.D) and unfortunately Sabu has developed reluctance to being closed inside of the ERD. The elephant staff has developed a multiple step training plan to incorporate tether training, desensitization to the mechanical motorized doors, and re-building Sabu’s confidence in the ERD. The first step has been to train Sabu to allow keepers to attach bracelets/tethers to both of his front legs, then to allow tethering him in place using the bracelets. Secondly, keepers have continued to work with Sabu in the ERD. He is being asked to present various previously trained behaviors while in the ERD. This is to allow Sabu time to become more comfortable in the ERD before the tethering is introduced into this area. The third step is desensitizing Sabu to the sound of the opening and closing of the mechanical doors. This is being done by reinforcing the behavior of stationing near the ERD while operating the doors. When it is all combined in the ERD the goal is that Sabu will willingly allow himself to be tethered in the ERD for semen collection.
2:20-3:00- ZIP LINE DEMO by Chris Hales, Shape of Enrichment, Team Building with BITE
During my time as a keeper I have had the opportunity to design and build goal based enrichment for the animals in my care, along with teaching others during our Student Environmental Enrichment Courses and Team Building workshops. Having practical skills is a huge advantage to any animal carer looking to progress in the zoo world, and of course these skills can help increase the welfare of the animals in your care enormously. While trial and error can help you develop these skills, learning from those that have already made mistakes and learnt from them can help progress the design and build of these devices a lot faster, saving time, money, and potential injuries. My aim of this practical demonstration is to show you how simple it can be to create a great enrichment device with multiple uses. This device has been used on a number of species such as equines, reptiles, carnivores and even fish!
3:20-4:30- MEDIA TRAINING PANEL- DEALING WITH COUCH CONSERVATIONISTS
The banquet is Friday night and concludes the conference.
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 Cincinnati!