Enrichment & Training Posts

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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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.

Wolf Awareness Week, October 13th-19th of 2013

October 10th, 2013

As in years passed, the museum is gearing up for Wolf Awareness Week. At 2pm starting October 13th,there is a Keeper talk located at wolf overlook all week long.

This year, our local  chapter of the  AAZK will be at wolf overlook on Saturday and Sunday to help guests make enrichment for our own red wolves.

Those days are Sunday, the 13th of October 1pm-4pm and Saturday the 19th of October 12pm-3pm.

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by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

QuikPic: Henry

September 24th, 2013

Peanut Butter and Cone Enrichment

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  1. This is a hilarious picture. Thanks for the laugh.

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  2. This is my new favorite picture of Henry!

    Posted by Shawntel

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by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

Table time

September 22nd, 2013

The lemurs get front-lined every month, just like your dog at home. For the Ring Tailed Lemurs, I have goals of making this a trained behavior so that application goes smoothly. Right now it’s more like a “sneak attack” approach. So I began by teaching them the behavior- Wall. What I expected from them was to hop onto a stool and place both hands on the wall. To train this behavior,  I started with stool- they already have a Jump behavior, so that was no problem. Next, I pointed to the wall, they are used to Left Hand, Right Hand so often when they see my finger pointing they try to grab it. I would pull my hand back a bit,  leaving them touching the wall. I taped a square onto the wall and that is ultimately where I want their hands to be placed.

The stool is kinda low and the lemurs do not enjoy people leaning over them. So I brought a table into their stall. When they are on the table we are closer in height and I don’t need to lean over them. Now we are working on liking the table. (pictures below)

Hopefully this will eventually turn into a great husbandry behavior and make applying front-line easier for both lemurs and keepers.

Satyrus had to reposition for better treat access

My favorite picture. Cassandra is obviously not bothered by her son’s tail

 

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by , Behavior Consultant
I've been working with the museum since 2009 as a Behavior Management Consultant. I work with keepers and staff to gain the voluntary cooperation of the animals in their own care through operant conditioning.
You can find me teaching at Davidson County Community College, or through my business website Animalworksconsulting.com.

Let’s all get weighed!

July 20th, 2013

Keepers are enjoying the new scale in the farmyard, and so are the critters.  Here’s some video of Max and the alpacas getting weighed.

Max’s training focused on keeping him calm as he walked from his enclosure to the scale – he tends to get excited when he goes for a walk.  And 1600 pounds of excited steer can be difficult to manage.  But look how calm he is!

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The alpaca training is more focused on helping them tolerate the brief separation from the rest of the alpacas as they walk to the scale.  Its helpful for them to learn to be separated for short periods of time so they can more easily tolerate vet visits and shearings in the future.  Lots of good clicking and treating going on in the farmyard by keepers Kent, Sarah and Jill!

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  1. Good to see our Animal Department is steering in the right direction!

    Posted by Wendy

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by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

Bear Enrichment

July 8th, 2013

Here’s a few pictures of Keeper Marilyn making some fun bear enrichment.

Popcorn

and Raisins

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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.

Max, being Max

July 6th, 2013

He’s almost 1,700 pounds and stands about 5 feet tall at the shoulder (the height is a guess, he tried to eat my tape measure). Max weighs more than all 4 of our bears put together and can poop the combined weight of our baby alpacas every day! He has a well documented adoration of shoes and Kent. You’ll just have to trust me on the Kent part, or come visit some day and listen to Max bellow when Kent drives by and doesn’t stop to scratch him.

 

Max, besides being one of the more affectionate animals in the farmyard, is arguably one of the most playful. Keeper Jill and I decided to give an old piece of enrichment (a garden hose with plastic chains attached to it) a farewell send off by letting Max have it. He didn’t destroy it like we expected he would, but it was fun to watch him knock his big head into it.

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And if you want to check my math:

Max weighs about 1,700 pounds

Max can poop between 150 and 200 pounds a day (10% of his body weight)

The bears weigh, at most 350 pounds (x 4 = max of 1,400 pounds)

The baby alpacas weigh 100 pounds (Emily) and 77 pounds (Ray) combined = 177 pounds

The take home message of all this: Max poops a lot.

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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 Lemurs Meet a Mop Head

June 26th, 2013

Who doesn’t like enrichment videos??

Cereal strung up into a cotton mop head is one of my favorite enrichment items to watch our lemurs interact with. Personally, I think stringing a whole bunch of tiny pieces of cereal onto a mop head is tedious and not at all fun, but the result is worth it. Below are a couple videos I took of the Ringtails and Red Ruffeds spending some quality time with their favorite mops.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

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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.

There’s a Goat in the Tree

June 22nd, 2013

Rocky is a bit too short to reach the tastiest leaves on the tree with all 4 feet on the ground. So, after many attempts, he adopted a new routine for browsing. Previous to Rocky’s new found abilities, Chummix goat had been the champion Farm Yard tree climber. Unlike Rocky who climbs for more typical browse, Chummix only climbed trees for  Poison Ivy vines.

Rocky in tree

Even old goats can learn new things!

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Summer is here so it’s time for watermelons

June 20th, 2013

Summer is here so  it’s watermelon season. We LOVE getting watermelons for the animals! The initial benefit is we get to pile them all on someone’s desk (it used to be Kristen and now it’s Aaron’s desk). Please drop off watermelons at the Admissions Desk or at Gate # 1.

 

So many of the animals seem to love watermelon:

Lemurs

Bears

Farmyard critters.

A video of watermelon eating!

 

We’ll be having Watermelon Day again this year on Friday August 2nd. We’ll get the schedule of events up as we get closer.

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