Enrichment & Training Posts

by , Keeper
I have been a keeper at the museum since May 2012, but I was an intern back in the spring of 2011. I am very passionate about animals and my favorites are native species with the exception of sloths. In my spare time, I am working on a Bachelor's degree with OSU online in environmental science. I have two dogs, a snake, and a cat.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and you will usually see me somewhere in Explore the Wild. I love giving keeper talks, so hope to see you at 2 pm for our meet the keeper programs in Explore the Wild.

Birthday Celebration

March 30th, 2014

Cynthia, who is our oldest Red Ruffed Lemur, turned 33 years old on March 30th.  This makes Cynthia the oldest Red Ruffed Lemur in the country.  33 years is old for any lemur considering the average lifespan in captivity is early twenties.  In the wild, lemurs tend to live longer to around mid-twenties.  Since lemurs are endemic to Madagascar, it can be difficult to replicate their dietary and habitat needs in a captive environment.  The keepers felt that 33 years of life for a lemur would be a great reason to celebrate.  On Thursday the 27th, we provided the Red Ruffed Lemurs with a variety of different enrichment items.  They received puzzle feeders, skewers, streamers, and colorful bags with dried fruit.  At the 2pm lemur program, guest sang “Happy Birthday” from Lemur viewing  and keepers talked about Cynthia as well as general information on lemurs.

If you were unable to make it to the Birthday celebration, here are some pictures of the big day….

Decorations in inside viewing at Lemurs.

Decorations in inside viewing which are the enrichment items for not just Cynthia but Jethys and Iris too.

Cynthia checking out what is in the colorful bag.

Cynthia checking out what is in the colorful bag.

 

Cynthia smelling the streamers.

Cynthia smelling the streamers.

 

Cynthia, Jethys and Iris all checking out the enrichment items.

Cynthia, Jethys and Iris all checking out the enrichment items.

 

 

Birthday Cakes

Birthday Cakes

 

Getting more enrichment items for the 2pm program.  This is fruit skewered on paper towel tubes.

Getting more enrichment items for the 2pm program. This is fruit skewered on paper towel tubes.

 

Autumn and I getting a larger paper towel tube ready with mango, kiwi and dried cherries.

Autumn and I getting a larger paper towel tube ready with mango, kiwi and dried cherries.

 

Cynthia going to a puzzle feeder that had a variety of fruit and veggies inside it.

Cynthia going to a puzzle feeder that had a variety of fruit and veggies inside it.

 

Jethys eating one of the birthday cakes.

Jethys eating one of the birthday cakes.

 

Cynthia and the skewered fruit paper towel tube.  Iris is looking in one of the puzzle feeders.

Cynthia and the skewered fruit paper towel tube. Iris is looking in one of the puzzle feeders.

 

The keepers and guest had a great time watching the Red Ruffed Lemurs explore and manipulate their enrichment items.  After it was all over, they all found their spots on the perching and rested.

Time to rest.

Time to rest.

 

 

 

 

 

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

Early Morning Walk

March 27th, 2014

Lightning and I don’t always have enough time first thing in the morning to make the long walk out to Explore the Wild, but when we do, it’s always worth the trek.

Lightning and I walk on a service path behind the train tracks and meet the moss cattle and deer that inhabit the train pasture

Next, we walk down the paths in Explore the Wild and say, “Good Morning” to the wolves.

 

Then, we stop in at the Bear House and check on Jessi and Autumn…we might have stolen some of Jessi’s breakfast…

 

Lightning goes for a walk every day, as do most of our farmyard animals. Even the pigs and Max! So next time you’re here, if you come by the farmyard and don’t see your favorite furry (or feathered) critter it’s probably a good thing, they’re likely out enjoying the sunshine in the company of a keeper.

Join the conversation:

  1. Love it!

    Posted by Wendy
  2. This could be the start of a good children’s book–”A Donkey’s Day”…Lightning certainly gets into mischief (stealing radios, snitching food…)

    Posted by CVdB
  3. I had no idea the animals went for regular walks…thanks for sharing!

    Posted by Libby
  4. Keeper Comment :

    Absolutely, Libby!

    Walks are an important way for animals to get exercise, explore new places, sights and sounds, and to spend some time bonding with their keepers.

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg

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by , Keeper
I have been a keeper at the museum since May 2012, but I was an intern back in the spring of 2011. I am very passionate about animals and my favorites are native species with the exception of sloths. In my spare time, I am working on a Bachelor's degree with OSU online in environmental science. I have two dogs, a snake, and a cat.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and you will usually see me somewhere in Explore the Wild. I love giving keeper talks, so hope to see you at 2 pm for our meet the keeper programs in Explore the Wild.

Upcoming Birthday Celebration!

March 23rd, 2014

Cynthia, our oldest Red Ruffed Lemur, will be turning 33 years old on March 30th.  On March 27th, the Explore the Wild team (Autumn and myself) will be providing Cynthia and the other Red Ruffed Lemurs with different types of enrichment and food items so that we can celebrate this milestone.  This will provide the Red Ruffed Lemurs with great opportunities to interact with different food items and enrichment plus give the keepers a chance to take a lot of pictures!  So, this will be very enriching to the keepers.

 

My next post will show what we did for Cynthia on her big day plus how she and the other Red Ruffed Lemurs interacted with all the items.

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Director Comment :

    We’ve already had a couple bags of fruit and other goodies dropped off. Thanks Neighbor:

    http://blogs.lifeandscience.org/keepers/2013/03/24/spotlight-my-anonymous-neighbor/

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  2. Congratulations to Cynthia for being one of the oldest Red-ruffed lemurs in captivity in the world – You go girl!!! Get your party on!!!

    Posted by Katy
  3. Precisely what a beneficial post you will have. Thanks for this promote.Such a informative post you might have.

    Posted by Antonio Bigbee

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by , Keeper
I have been a keeper at the museum since May 2012, but I was an intern back in the spring of 2011. I am very passionate about animals and my favorites are native species with the exception of sloths. In my spare time, I am working on a Bachelor's degree with OSU online in environmental science. I have two dogs, a snake, and a cat.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and you will usually see me somewhere in Explore the Wild. I love giving keeper talks, so hope to see you at 2 pm for our meet the keeper programs in Explore the Wild.

Apple Rings

March 21st, 2014

Cassandra and Satyrus getting apple rings for food enrichment.  I think it was a hit!

 

 

 

 

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

Goat Coats

March 15th, 2014

Polar Vortex 2014 brought bitter cold air and lots of snow and ice to Durham. Most of our outdoor animals were snug and warm inside their holding areas or tucked into huge piles of hay to wait out the winter weather, but some of the farmyard residents were still just plain cold. We added a big heat lamp in the goat stall and would lock them inside but it still wasn’t enough to keep our two older boys toasty when it was 10 degrees out.  Even Lightning, the donkey, was shivering on the coldest of days.

How else do you keep a tiny herd of African animals warm?

GOAT COATS!!

 

and a donkey coat, too.

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

The Interns Make Friends With Max

February 25th, 2014

Our Spring 2014 interns, Katie and Jill, got to spend some time in the farmyard with Max and the “Max Scratcher”

YouTube Preview Image

Join the conversation:

  1. what’s the “max scratcher” made of?

    Posted by sherry
  2. Keeper Comment :

    It’s an old PVC perch core that has a metal comb attached to one end.

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg

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by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.
Tags: , ,

A loss in the department

January 7th, 2014

Sadly, I’m writing this blog to let you know about our most recent loss, Scout. Scout was a big part of my career here, he hatched only a few days before I started. We would pal around in the mornings together in the farmyard before the museum would open. You could call him and he would come to you, at night he would know how to get to his stall and depending what time of year it was you had to run from him so he wouldn’t attack your legs. Some of the times before we would open his stall in the morning I would shout “RELEASE THE QUACKEN!” (on homage to “Release the Kraken!” stated by Zeus in 1981′s Clash of the Titans .) He had the prettiest blue eyes and loved sweet potatoes.

Duck became ill and we brought him to the vet school where it was determined he had anemia and several other problems we cant be sure of until the necropsy results come in.

I was recently working on a blog about duck and his enrichment. I have decided to include it in this entry along with a slide show of Scout.

YouTube Preview Image

 

 

 

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Keeper Comment :

    Who’s going to teach the kids that “anything with a mouth can bite”? I miss Ducky greatly, especially first thing in the morning when I’m raking the farmyard. It’s weird without him underfoot, perching on the trailer or bug hunting nearby.

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg
  2. I didn’t know Scout as well as I suppose I should have, although I’ve heard plenty of stories of his daring escapades. All things considered, I’ve never met a bad duck. Scout
    will be missed.

    Posted by Ranger Greg
  3. Great video, Jill. I will miss duck greatly. I still have the small stuffed lion that we let him snuggle up to when he was a tiny duckling. It sits by my computer and I think of him whenever I see it.

    Posted by Marilyn
  4. Great video and tribute to a one of a kind duck! He will missed.

    Posted by Ranger Ro

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum for many years now. I spend most of my time behind-the-scenes in the Vet room. You might catch me out and about with one of our many veterinarians checking on the animals.
When I'm not hanging out with one of our vets I'm usually in the Vet room running a fecal looking for intestinal parasites! If I'm not up to my elbows in poo you'll find me at the computer updating the health records of our animals or preparing for Vet Rounds.

Quick Pics

January 3rd, 2014

You never know what you will see when you hang out in the Animal Department.

Wolf Enrichment

Bugsy’s Halloween Costume 2013

Jill and Auggie enter building.

Henry and his peanut butter stick.

Lightning and his Jolly Ball.

Zoe turtle dressed as Frog for Halloween 2013.

 

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.
Tags: , , , , ,

Signs of the Season: Year 2

December 10th, 2013

Last year, it was Misha calling in the cooler weather. This year, it’s been the two big guys in the farmyard acting silly that let’s us know the crisp fall air is here to stay. Both Max and Lightning really seem to like playing with keepers much more once September and October roll in. You’ve seen Lightning play fetch with his Jolly Ball before, but did you know that Max will play Tag?

YouTube Preview Image

 

Join the conversation:

  1. very intersting

    Posted by Gor Isaverdyan

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by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.

AAZK Conference for 2013

October 13th, 2013

Last year I was lucky enough to be able to attend the American Association of Zookeepers conference.

This year, a lot of us keepers were very lucky to be able to attend because it was held in North CarolinaKeeper Sarah and I were also lucky, because we were selected to present a paper this year. The topic was on enrichment and focused on inexpensive or free options. Even though I was presenting, it was said that Sarah was much more nervous then I, but all went well.

Special thanks goes out to Wendy for helping us with our professional looking power point! Luckily, Sherry signed me up for a course in this years conference that taught a lot about power point presentations and I think I finally have a good grasp of it.

 

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